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Book Review: I Stink! by Kate McMullan/illus. by Jim McMullan (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2002)

i stinkRecommended for ages 2-5

While the rest of the city sleeps, a garbage truck wakes up to start his work day. The smiling truck is proud of his powerful engine and the noises and smells that are part of his job – he roars and burps his way through an “alphabet soup” of trash, from apple cores to zipped-up ziti with zucchini-and brags about how much he stinks, telling the reader, “No skunk has ever stunk this bad!” He heads to the river to eject the trash onto a barge, and heads back to the garage to gas up and sleep until the next night. The watercolor-and-ink illustrations use a palette of darker colors to communicate the sleepy city and the colors of the garbage itself. The text is bold and appears in assorted sizes and colors, fitting the garbage truck’s friendly and big personality.

The voice of the truck provides for a fun read-aloud, where children can chime in and make truck noises: burping, roaring, saying ahh. There are many truck crafts, songs and fingerplays to create a truck-related storytime. Children can create their own trucks using construction paper shapes and popsicle sticks; several websites offer printable truck pictures to color.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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