Stink and the Hairy Scary Spider – by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds


  Stink and the Hairy Scary Spider – by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, Candlewick, 9781536209204, 2020 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Realistic fiction

What did you like about the book?  Stink fans will enjoy this newest adventure in which Stink overcomes his arachnophobia. While searching the backyard for his escaped dollar bill origami frog (another Stink obsession), he accidentally stumbles across a giant, hairy, pink-toed tarantula! This chance encounter induces a lot of heebie-jeebies, which Stink and his pals counter with gradual exposure to spider facts, stories and pictures, eventually working up to having Stink stroke furry things. Realizing that the escaped arachnid must be a pet, Stink works up the courage to find her and in doing so, makes a new friend,  a little girl named Izzy who’s Kiki the spider’s owner. The book is very cute, with Peter Reynold’s trademark pen-and-ink sketches illustrating the action and lots of extra stuff:  spider facts and diagrams, how to make a spider shadow puppet and comic-strip style pages with Anasi stories. I really liked that the emphasis was on overcoming fear and all the strategies that the kids employ.  Stink is white, BFF Webster is Latinx, and Izzy and Mrs. Birdwhistle (owner of the Fur & Fangs pet store) present as Black.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Any Judy Moody or Stink fans. I love that you don’t need to read the books in any particular order but can pick up whichever volume you want to start. Megan McDonald’s books are well-written, smart and have a lot of heart. Although they’re dependably good, they never feel formulaic. 

Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No. Save your time, it’s just as good as all the other books. 

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: November 17, 2020

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