"I stink!" How can you not love such swagger and candor? And Kate and Jim McMullan's big-eyed, loudmouthed garbage truck really must stink--by its own admission, and given all those smelly bags it's been cramming into its huge back hopper.
Most kids already love garbage trucks on general principle, and one assumes that can only go double for a sass-mouthed, animated dumper like this one, out on its early-morning rounds: "See those bags? I SMELL BREAKFAST! Crew? Get me to the curb! Lights? Blink! Brakes? Squeal! Tail gate? SAY AH!" The many opportunities for loud, large-type sound effects should make for spirited readings, and a recipe for "alphabet soup" lets young readers practice their letters, working through the ABCs from apple cores to zipped-up ziti with zucchini.
The text to I Stink!, while fun, is nowhere near as clever as the art. But fortunately Jim McMullan's fun, fat drawings and type treatments more than make up the difference, loading Dumpsters full of personality into this grimacing, grinning, growling--even burping!--big rig. Kids will have a good time doing diesel-powered imitations, but even more importantly, they'll learn where they'd be without their neighborhood trash truck: on top of "Mount Trash-o-rama, baby." (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes