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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Stinkiest: 20 Smelly Animals. By Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Raincoast. 2018. $7.99 ages 5 and up

"How does your garden grow? 

The three-toed sloth lives in
the trees of the rainforest. Its
fur is often damp, and moss and
other plants grow in it. Hundreds
of moths and beetles also live
in its fur, which has a terrible
smell. But this odor does not
protect the sloth against the
eagles, snakes, and jaguars
that hunt it."

I know a classroom of kindergarten children who just love these books, and they are very excited
to know that the second set of two is now available. They have been poring over the first two in the series for a few months now, Deadliest and Trickiest. They will surely love that these new ones as much as they ones they already have in their classroom library.

There is just enough information provided, alongside stunning pictures done in torn paper, colorful collage. The page headings are fun, and will intrigue with such subjects as Stink bomb, Sour spray, Bird farts, and Smoke screen. A table of contents leads readers to the one they think might be the 'best', or most disgusting.

Vocabulary is not always easy, but that won't deter interest in learning as much as they can about these 'stinky' critters. The format matches the other books in the series. White backgrounds ensure that attention is given to the animal itself and the facts provided in a short paragraph, a secondary sentence, a world map, and a size comparison to a human body.   

Back matter explains that there are three reasons why these animals included smell bad. Most have a strong odor, a few mark their territory with that smell and for another few, their diet determines how bad their smell is. A glossary and bibliography are useful. This is excellent nonfiction for early readers.

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