Striking pictures and intriguing facts are paired to entice beginning readers.
Page headings such as “Bird farts” and “Urrp!” and Jenkins’ accurate collage illustrations will draw even reluctant readers in. Information chosen for its “eww” effect will keep them reading despite the challenging vocabulary. Clean, white backgrounds, predictable layout, and varied typefaces help to organize the information. For example, how each critter qualifies as stinky is always discussed in the first paragraph, while callouts explain other behaviors or defense mechanisms. As in earlier series titles, a graphic on each spread indicates scale using either an adult human man or a human hand, while a world map shows habitat. The book concludes with a graphic that shows which critters use smell as a defense or to mark territory and which just live in stinky places. In the similarly formatted Speediest! (published simultaneously), that space is devoted to a chart showing each animal’s speed in miles and kilometers per hour. The aardvark’s 1/10 mph may seem unimpressive until readers see the explanation that this is how fast the animal can dig into earth. The quick movements of the mantis shrimp and the Panamanian termite are compared (quite favorably) to the blink of an eye. Backmatter in each volume includes a one-page glossary and a bibliography of more comprehensive nonfiction published between 1991 and 2015.
Excellent nonfiction that has the potential to make reluctant readers beginning bookworms. Not at all stinky! (Informational early reader. 5-10)