The Stinky Cheese Man: And Other Fairly Stupid Tales - Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith I cannot put into words how much I love this book. I remember discovering it after The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, but I come back to this book not because of the strength of its stories (let’s face it, they are humorous but little more than worth a few chuckles) but because of how meta the entire book is. Jack the narrator takes the reader on a chaotic uphill climb through what makes up a physical book and highlights the unwritten rules behind the structure of books by breaking





THEM. Whether it’s text on an end page, a falling table of contents that appears after the end of the first story, or a story made up cut out fragments that starts with The End and ends with Once Upon a Time, this book keeps you guessing while pointing out conventions and expectations you didn’t even realize you had.

While this book may have come out a few years ago, in this current time where ebooks are becoming the norm and fewer people consistently by hard copies of books, I believe a book that makes one question and think about what physically makes up a book is perhaps even more relevant. It can also work to show children parts of books they would never think about otherwise and show how and why hard copy books are set up the way they are.

One of the other great parts of this book are the wonderful illustrations made up of a collage picture and pieces of paper pieced together into unique and fascinating pictures.

Also, children will enjoy the fairly stupid quality of these insane retellings of fairy tales. Just make sure they also get a chance to compare these to the originals.

That is really my one problem with the plethora of retellings, rewritings, and insane mash ups of well-known fairytales; I believe that for some children they are not well known and these humorous rewrites are becoming their norm. That rather ruins the point of these and denies the children of traditional stories that are still relevant. They may not be perfect but they still have something to teach us.