The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

4.5 66
by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith
     
 

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The entire book, with its unconventional page arrangement and eclectic, frenetic mix of text and picures, is a spoof on the art of book design and the art of the fairy tale. The individual tales, such as he Really Ugly Ducklingand ittle Red Running Shorts,can be extracted for telling aloud, with great success. Another masterpiece from the team that created The True… See more details below

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Overview

The entire book, with its unconventional page arrangement and eclectic, frenetic mix of text and picures, is a spoof on the art of book design and the art of the fairy tale. The individual tales, such as he Really Ugly Ducklingand ittle Red Running Shorts,can be extracted for telling aloud, with great success. Another masterpiece from the team that created The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!
-Horn Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Grade-school irreverence abounds in this compendium of (extremely brief) fractured fairy tales, which might well be subtitled ``All Things Gross and Giddy.'' With a relentless application of the sarcasm that tickled readers of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs , Scieszka and Smith skewer a host of juvenile favorites: Little Red Running Shorts beats the wolf to grandmother's house; the Really Ugly Duckling matures into a Really Ugly Duck; Cinderumpelstiltskin is ``a girl who really blew it.'' Text and art work together for maximum comic impact--varying styles and sizes of type add to the illustrations' chaos, as when Chicken Licken discovers that the Table of Contents, and not the sky, is falling. Smith's art, in fact, expands upon his previous waggery to include increased interplay between characters, and even more of his intricate detail work. The collaborators' hijinks are evident in every aspect of the book, from endpapers to copyright notice. However, the zaniness and deadpan delivery that have distinguished their previous work may strike some as overdone here. This book's tone is often frenzied; its rather specialized humor, delivered with the rapid-fire pacing of a string of one-liners, at times seems almost mean-spirited. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
A totally irreverent retelling of a number of classic fairy tales including "The Little Red Hen," "The Princess and the Pea," and "The Ugly Duckling." All are accompanied by the equally wacky and outrageous illustrations of Lane Smith. A book that will undoubtedly appeal to those who know the original stories and have a good sense of the absurd.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Scieszka and his comic cohort, Smith, have ignited a resurgence of retellings and brought new vision to fairy tales. The daring duo was distinguished with a Caldecott honor for this collection of irreverent tales. Scieszka refers to this book as "one of the first fairy tales I twisted" and probably their "fairy tale finale." Below Scieszka's patina of humor and playfulness, there is a respect for kids that shapes his work. "I gravitated to fairy tales because it's the genre that kids are in charge of, can take control of, and be in on the joke." His books may appeal to adults, but they primarily are created for, motivated by, and support the vision of kids.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-- Scieszka and Smith, the daring duo responsible for revealing The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Viking, 1989), return here with nine new exposes, all narrated by the ubiquitous Jack (of Beanstalk fame). Unlike the detailed retelling of the pigs' tale, most of these stories are shortened, one-joke versions that often trade their traditional morals for hilarity. ``The Stinky Cheese Man'' is an odoriferous cousin to the gingerbread boy; when he runs away, nobody wants to run after him. ``The Other Frog Prince'' wheedles a kiss only to reveal that he is just a tricky frog (as the princess wipes the frog slime off her lips); the Little Red Hen wanders frantically in and out of the book squawking about her wheat, her bread, her story, until she is finally (and permanently) squelched by Jack's giant. The broad satire extends even to book design, with a blurb that proclaims ``NEW! IMPROVED! FUNNY! GOOD! BUY! NOW!'' and a skewed table of contents crashing down on Chicken Licken and company several pages after they proclaim that the sky is falling. The illustrations are similar in style and mood to those in the earlier book, with the addition of more abstraction plus collage in some areas. The typeface, text size, and placement varies to become a vital part of the illustrations for some of the tales. Clearly, it is necessary to be familiar with the original folktales to understand the humor of these versions. Those in the know will laugh out loud. --Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Stephanie Zvirin
[FOCUS] Gr. 2 and up. Whatever Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith coproduce usually spells a raucous time for everyone (see interview on opposite page), and this book's no different. It's a continuation of the fairy tale fracturing the pair undertook in "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" , going that story nine better. Here are "10 complete stories!" and "25 lavish paintings!" that purposefully wreak havoc with such familiar nursery tales as "Little Red Riding Hood," "The Princess and the Pea," and "Jack and the Beanstalk." The picture-book set will probably recognize the stories enough to know that what's going on isn't what's "supposed" to happen. But "The Stinky Cheese Man" isn't a book for little ones. It will take older children (that's teens along with 10s) to follow the disordered story lines and appreciate the narrative's dry wit, wordplay, and wacky, sophomoric jokes. There's more than a touch of black humor, too--Jack's giant eats the Little Red Hen as the book closes, and the Ugly Duckling never turns into a gorgeous swan. Smith's New Wave art is an intricate part of the whole, extending as well as reinforcing the narrative; the pictures are every bit as comically insolent and deliberately clever as the words, with Smith's dark palette giving them a moody feeling. An illustration sure to elicit school-yard belly laughs pictures the book's title character (whose head is an odiferous wheel of cheese) causing flowers to wilt, skunks to faint, and children to run screaming for home. But the high jinks go beyond plot and picture. Scieszka and Smith also play around with book design: type sizes vary from minute to majestic; one page is totally blank (this greatly upsets the Little Red Hen), while several others are filled with yellow "smell" squiggles. And there are other little "surprises," some of which seem aimed more at adults than at kids: not often, for example, will you find such a rhetorical question as "Who is this ISBN guy?" or discover that book illustrations have been done in "oil and vinegar." Every part of the book bears the loving, goofy stamp of its creators, and while their humor won't appeal to everyone, their endeavors will still attract a hefty following of readers--from 9 to 99. For fractured fairy tales of a different kind, see Brooke's "Untold Tales" in this issue.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670844876
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/28/1992
Pages:
64
Sales rank:
43,737
Product dimensions:
8.68(w) x 10.84(h) x 0.42(d)
Lexile:
520L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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