A boisterous, black-and-white dog has two problems: an excess of flatulence and a lack of a permanent home.
The dog is named Stinker, naturally, and his story is narrated in first person by a smart-aleck, marmalade cat who happens to be around for all the action (though without an explanation for its presence). The cat explains that Stinker’s first owner didn’t like “smelling his little smells.” She left Stinker at an animal shelter, where he was considered for adoption by several families and individuals, including people of color and a boy using a wheelchair. All of them reject the dog because of his gas problem. Stinker eventually finds a cozy home with a lonely, older man. Bright, busy illustrations in mixed media provide energetic personalities for the two animals, with scribbly, gray clouds of gas trailing after Stinker. The unexceptional story is not particularly funny, and the description of the older, white man, Mr. Curtis, is seriously flawed in its treatment of the man’s impaired sight and hearing. Mr. Curtis is “as old as the hills,” “can’t see worth a hill of beans,” and “cannot hear worth a hoot.” His sense of smell is still acute, so he locates Stinker by the dog’s gaseous smell. The condescending attitude toward the man’s age and disabilities represents an inappropriate and outdated use of advanced years and impairment as the butt of jokes.
Gassy dogs may be funny, but poking fun at disabilities never is. Stinker indeed. (Picture book. 4-7)