________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 2. . . .September 12, 2014

cover

Stinky Skunk Mel.

Kari-Lynn Winters. Illustrated by Paola Opal.
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2014.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-897476-83-3.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Claire Perrin.

**** /4

   

excerpt:

ďSTOP!Ē they cried.

ďIt smells worse than feet.

Itís bad. Ití rotten.

Like moldy old meat!Ē

Mel tried to listen.

He really did care.

But when he got nervous.

he SPRAYED in the air.

ďI canít stop spraying

my STINKY skunk smell.

Itís just who I am.Ē

said Stinky Skunk Mel.

 

Being friends with a skunk has its down side. Melís friends canít get past his stinky smell, and he feels terrible about it. Mel decides to leave the forest and his friends and banish himself to a junkyard outside of town.

internal art     While living in the dump, Mel smells fire nearby and watches as firefighters extinguish the blaze. They put out the fire, all but the last spark, when they run out of water. Fortunately, Mel is able to help out. He extinguishes the flames with his special spray and becomes a hero. His forest friends appreciate his efforts and welcome Mel back to the forest.

     Kari-Lynn Winters has found a very entertaining way to write about acceptance, individuality and self-knowledge. Mel comes to terms with stinkiness and is not only accepted but celebrated as a hero. His friends overlook Melís smell once they realize that Mel has a special ability that is useful in the forest.

     Winters writes using rhyming verses with four lines per page. The rhymes are never awkward, and the story rolls smoothly from beginning to end with good rhythm. The small text to picture ratio makes the book easy to read and gives readers a chance to focus on the hilarious illustrations. The use of LARGE GREEN text to convey certain stinky words adds to the humour of the story.

     Paola Opalís illustrations are an excellent fit for Wintersí story. She uses a monochromatic colour scheme with lots of black and grey, accented with green for obvious reasons. The characters are drawn in cartoon style with a plain background, making it easy to focus on the charactersí facial expressions and actions. It is rare to find illustrations that convey charactersí feelings so clearly and comically.

      Stinky Skunk Mel appeals on many levels. Children will enjoy the plot, especially when the firefighters arrive and run out of water. Adults will see an opportunity to discuss friendship, feeling left out, and finally acceptance.

Highly Recommended.

Claire Perrin is an elementary teacher in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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