by Stephen Sanzo
Mark Mullaney, illustrator
Cranky Pants Publishing
“Cranky Pants is back—but much to his chagrin, his joyfully rambunctious little sister is along for the ride. ‘The Little Stinker never gets in trouble . . . has mushy oatmeal hands, sticky grape jelly hair, a runny nose, and smelly feet’ But, when she goes missing in a department store, her big brother realizes that life without her just wouldn’t be the same. Can he save the day?”
Opening: “This is my sister. I call her the Little Stinker. She gets up at five o’clock every morning, stomps in he crib, and honks like a goose.”
Cranky Pants is taking second place to his little sister, AKA Little Stinker. Whatever she does seems to be okay with mom and dad. She wails “Groooooovy” in the car non-stop and mom and dad laugh as if nonstop yelling is not annoying. Also annoying, Little Stinker running around with mushy oatmeal hands, stomping “I’m awake” in her crib, and NEVER getting in trouble. Add waking up in terrific moods and wide grins.
Today, the family is going SHOPPING! But Little Stinker needs help getting ready and takes forever. Cranky Pants needs no help and gets ready fast. Not having read the book prior to this one, I have no idea why the nickname “Cranky Pants,” because he seems to be a pleasantly normal child one would love to have for the day. Little Stinker seems like a, well, a brat—except she is actually normal for her age, unless you are an older sibling.
Mom insists Cranky Pants hold his sisters hand as they walk from car to store. Cranky Pants wants a new bike—The Sting-Ray with “super fast tires, a stick shift, and rear shocks.” He does not want to hold hands. He wants a new bike. At the store, mom and sister look at dresses, while he and dad look at T.V.s. At the toy department—where there are bikes—they look at games. Mom buys a board game for the two kids to share—Candyland, the game every young boy loves to play with his younger sister. Good job MOM. I am beginning to understand the nickname “Cranky Pants.”
All goes well for Little Stinker. Cranky Pants wishes she would go live with grandma. But, wait . . . is that the . . . oh, yes it is . . . it is THE STING-RAY, with all the extras, taking center stage for all eye to see. Cranky Pants stares in awe. Little Stinker, who was to be holding her brother’s hand while mom paid for Candyland, let go and is now . . . gone! Will the family find her? Will Cranky Pants finally be happy? Why does dad look a bit like George Jetson? What kind of televisions is that story trying to sell? For the answers read Little Stinker.
I love Little Stinker. All of the sister’s behaviors and quirks are normal for a kid her age (no age given, but she still sleeps in a crib). To Cranky Pants, who most likely acted the same way, all of this stuff is annoying. There are older kids in every family that can relate to at least part of Cranky Pants’s dilemma. In good picture book fashion, the parents are on the sidelines, not involved much in what goes on.
The illustrations are brightly colored and cartoonish. Dad looks like George Jetson. The little sister looks like another cartoon character from the 1970’s, but I cannot place her name. The expressions, the clothes, and especially the store look like they went back in time to the 1970’s. Cranky Pants dreams of the Sting-Ray bike—a banana bike with a yellow seat—and envisions himself wearing Evil Knievel’s jumpsuit.
Speaking of the Jetsons, the phonograph in living room is not USB 3.0 enabled. It uses a needle, on an arm, enabled by electricity. Kids will need mom or dad—grandma or grandpa—to clue them in on some of the objects. This retro look is one reason I love this book, as will anyone who grew up during sixties and seventies.
Little Stinker is an amusing story about sibling love. Kids will understand this love/hate relationship. The definition of sibling love: “No one beats up my brother/sister except me!” I think kids will enjoy Little Stinker, as will parents, who must be ready to read Little Stinker many times before the next installment arrives. If you like retro looking picture books that remind you of your youth—and confuse your children—Little Stinker fits the bill. Cranky Pants, book 1 of this quirky series, has garnered much praise. (Houston Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, and the Copley News Syndicate)
USA Book News Award, finalist
Released November 1, 2013
Age 3 to 6
LITTLE STINKER. Text copyright © 2013 by Stephen Sanzo. Illustrations copyright © by Mark Mullaney. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Cranky Pants Publishing, Arlington, MA.
The date: December 18, 2013.
The time: 12:01 AM EST
You have exactly 7 days to VOTE! Please vote.
You have exactly 168 hours to VOTE! Please vote.
You have exactly 10080 minutes to VOTE! Please vote.
You have exactly 604800 seconds to VOTE! Please vote.
You have exactly . . . Please vote for the Best Books of 2013.*
*Books reviewed on Kid Lit Reviews.