Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs

Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs
by Melissa Stewart
illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
Peachtree, 2018
Grades PreS-3

Today we're taking part in the Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers Blog Tour.

Stewart, a favorite nonfiction author of ours, focuses not on the big and mighty animals, but on the "unsung underdogs of the animal world. The small, slow, stinky, lazy, clumsy, shy, and more."

The narrative nonfiction book focuses on over twelve animals that have unusual traits that help them survive. For instance, the hoatzin. It's stinky! Smells like cow manure! Why? Because it eats lots of leaves. Or zorillas, whose nasty spray is stronger than a skunk. "Should hoatzins and zorillas clean up their act? No Way! These stinkers are sending their enemies a powerful message."  Would you want to eat something that stinks?

Stewart engages young readers with a conversational style and effective use of questions. When writing about the Amau frog, the author asks, "How can these puny peewees survive in a world of predators with huge teeth and razor-sharp claws?" Adults who read aloud the book to children may want to pause after the questions and allow children time to think and discuss their ideas before turning the page.

Laberis' bold and colorful illustrations, created in Adobe Photoshop CC, lend a humorous tone to the charming and informative narrative. The back matter provides more information about animals listed in the text in addition to a list of selected sources. Pick up a copy today to add to your library, classroom or to give as a gift to the animal lover in your life.





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