Stink needs a sport, fast! Can his alter-ego, Shark Hammersmash, wrestle a win at thumb wars? Or will a perfect karate kick lead him to victory?
Stink Moody, family brain, brings home a report card that isn’t perfect? Yikes! Time for him to get into fighting shape and beat back that U for Unsatisfactory in gym! A scan of the sports channel leads to a knock-out find: world-class thumb wrestling, with tricky moves like Snake in the Grass and Santa’s Little Helper (no equipment needed, save for a tiny terrifying mask to sit on your thumb). But when Mom and Dad are not wowed, Stink gets another idea: he’ll kick and punch his way to a yellow belt with the help of a Dragon Master, a seeing-eye Moose, and a mind as still as a pond. Can you say Crouching Tiger, Hidden Thumb? Hee-ya! Ha! Ha! Ha!
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About the Author
Megan McDonald is the creator of the popular and award-winning Judy Moody and Stink series. She is also the author of three Sisters Club stories and many other books for children. She lives in Sebastopol, California.
Peter H. Reynolds is the illustrator of the Judy Moody and Stink books and the author-illustrator of The Dot, Ish, So Few of Me, The North Star, and Rose’s Garden. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts.
“Sometimes I think I am Judy Moody,” says Megan McDonald, author of the wildly popular Judy Moody series, the Stink books, and the Sisters Club trilogy. “I’m certainly moody, like she is. Judy has a strong voice and always speaks up for herself. I like that.”
For Megan McDonald, being able to speak up for herself wasn’t always easy. She grew up in a house full of books, as the youngest of five sisters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father, an ironworker, was known to his coworkers as “Little Johnny the Storyteller.” Every evening, the McDonalds gathered around the large, round dinner table to talk and tell stories, but Megan McDonald was barely able to get a word in edgewise. “I’m told I began to stutter,” she says, leading her mother to give her a copy of Harriet the Spy and a small spiral notebook, so she could begin writing things down á la the young reporter Harriet.
To date, Megan McDonald has penned more than sixty books for children and young readers, including the critically acclaimed Judy Moody series. These hilarious books have won numerous awards, ranging from a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and an International Reading Association Children’s Choice to the first-ever Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award. “Judy has taken on a life of her own,” the author notes, with millions of Judy Moody books in print worldwide. The feisty third-grader is highly popular with boys and girls, making for an enthusiastic base of fans who are among Megan McDonald’s strongest incentives to keep writing the adventures of Judy Moody and her little brother, Stink, along with a bottomless well of ideas inspired by growing up with four older sisters.
And—by popular demand—Judy Moody’s little brother, Stink, gets his chance to shine in his own adventures! Megan McDonald says, “Once, while I was visiting a class full of Judy Moody readers, the kids, many with spiked hair à la Judy’s little brother, chanted, ‘Stink! Stink! Stink! Stink! Stink!’ as I entered the room. In that moment, I knew that Stink had to have a book all his own.” Now, giant jawbreakers, smelly sneakers, stinky corpse flowers, and 101 runaway guinea pigs join Mouse, Jaws, Toady, mood rings, an ABC gum collection, and operating on a zucchini in the everyday antics of Judy Moody’s world.
Megan McDonald has recalled some of her own childhood by writing about the warmth, humor—and squabbles—of three spunky sisters in the Sisters Club trilogy, wrapping up with Cloudy With a Chance of Boys. Megan McDonald lives and writes in northern California with her husband, a frequent collaborator.
“I often visit classrooms and ask who loves to draw,” says Peter H. Reynolds, illustrator of the acclaimed Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald and author-illustrator of The Dot, Ish, Sky Color, So Few Of Me, and other enchanting picture books that celebrate the creative process. “In kindergarten and first grade, all the hands go up. In second grade, most of the hands go up. In third grade, half the hands are up. By fourth and fifth grade, most of the hands are down, or perhaps pointing to ‘the class artist.’ It’s sad to see the artistic, creative energy slowing down, being packed away. I am convinced it’s because children learn early that there are ‘rules’ to follow. But when it comes to expressing yourself, you can invent your own rules. You can change them, you can stretch them, or you can ignore them all and dive headfirst into the unknown.
“Nothing irks me more than seeing a person’s creativity get shut down,” he continues. “Through my books, I want to help give kids—and grown-up kids—the vocabulary to protect their exploration, in art, writing, and thinking.” It certainly appears his approach is working: not only has The Dot garnered high critical acclaim, it also received the 2004 Christopher Medal, awarded to works that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.”
Peter H. Reynolds recalls that when he was approached about illustrating Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody—the first in what would become an extremely popular chapter-book series for middle-graders—he jumped at the chance. For one thing, the feisty, independent Judy reminded him of his own daughter, who was eleven years old at the time. “Judy seemed very real to me, compared to fantasy versions of what little girls are like,” he says. What’s more, the story itself—in which a moody Judy struggles to create a Me collage for school—clicked with his own beliefs as an educator about the role a child’s temperament can play in the learning process.
But it was Judy’s younger “bother,” Stink, who would strike the greatest chord within Peter H. Reynolds. “I’ve fallen in love with the whole cast of characters in the world of Judy Moody, but Stink has always been a favorite of mine. He reminds me of myself growing up: dealing with a sister prone to teasing and bossing around—and having to get creative in order to stand tall beside her.” And now Stink is getting the chance to be heard in his own series also by Megan McDonald— which features the artwork of Peter H. Reynolds that Judy’s fans have grown to love, including comic strips drawn by Stink himself.
Peter H. Reynolds and his twin brother, Paul (now his business partner), were born in Canada but moved to a Massachusetts suburb when they were three years old. They made their first foray into publishing at the age of seven, when they began producing their own newspapers and comic books on their father’s photocopier. An incessant doodler since childhood, Peter H. Reynolds credits his unique brand of humor and his love for the absurd to growing up with “very eccentric British parents” who were fond of watching Monty Python. “It was not a normal house,” he recalls. From his parents he also inherited an appreciation for tea, which he uses both as a beverage and an art medium. In addition, the illustrator brings to the Judy Moody series his sensibility as a “very visual person.”
Founder of the award-winning educational media developer and publisher FableVision, where he produces award-winning children’s broadcast programming, educational videos, and multimedia applications, Peter H. Reynolds was recently honored by Verizon as Literacy Leader of the Year. The author-illustrator lives with his family in Dedham, Massachusetts.