Happy Halloween Stinky Face
By Lisa McCourt
Illustrated by Cyd Moore
Mama, what if Mrs. Petry doesn’t know it’s really just me at her door? What if she gets so surprised from my super-scary costume that she throws her candy bowl up and it lands on her head and candy spills all over? It’s almost time to go trick-or-treating, but first Stinky Face has just a few questions for Mama. As always, Mama lovingly addresses each and every one of her child’s concerns. A sweet and reassuring Halloween tale from Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore!
Long-time collaborators McCourt and Moore offer another holiday Stinky Face book. In this one, the usual pattern is repeated: Stinky Face asks his mother a host of “what ifs” concerning everything from people turning into butterflies to people in cat costumes being rescued by faux firefighters. As the story line is so familiar, it’s important that the tale is kept somewhat fresh by Moore’s illustrations, and she comes up with some very creative Halloween outfits for Stinky Face and his friends. The illustrations seem to have grown larger over the series, making it easier to use the book in a storytime situation. One can never have too many Halloween picture books, and readers already familiar with Stinky Face and his imaginative fears will enjoy this one. (Picture book. 4-7)
The little boy with the unfortunate nickname returns in a fifth book, this time with questions about Halloween. As before, Stinky Face is full of what-ifs. What if Mrs. Petry gets so scared by the costumed boy and his friends that she spills the candy? What if a friend’s butterfly costume turns her into a real butterfly and she flies up to the sky? Mom, of course, has answers to everything, but when the boy starts wondering if he should change his costume to superhero or firefighter, the answer is clear: this year he’ll stick to his ghost costume. Books about Halloween always offer plenty of opportunity for creative art, and this is no exception. Although the story concept is a little tired, the fall-colored ink-and-watercolor paintings are full of detailed fun as they pair imagination with reality. Kids will like seeing the characters in their costumes and maybe get some ideas for their costumes of their own. -Ilene Cooper
Stinky Face (I Love You, Stinky Face; I Miss You, Stinky Face; It’s Time for School, Stinky Face; Merry Christmas, Stinky Face) continues to bombard his patient, loving mother with questions—this time about going out to “trick or treat” for Halloween. McCourt and Moore have created a typically curious youngster whose clever mother has an answer for each and every one of his imaginative questions.
Most families will identify with the anxiety that new experiences engender and will laugh together as Stinky Face’s questions become more and more outlandish and his mother’s answers perpetually provide calm assurance that there is a solution for each of them. Readers will find the large, colorful and highly-imaginative illustrations to be the perfect foil for the text—notice the excellent ideas for “do-it-yourself” costumes neatly shown in the pictures. The backgrounds are interesting and will require readers to pour over them again and again to glean all of the delightful details. Momma really knows her son well, even anticipating that they will need to “start worrying first thing tomorrow about what you’ll be next year?”
Compassion, humor and love abound in all of the Stinky Face books, and this one does not disappoint our expectation that Momma will be able to field such challenging questions as: “What if Reese’s butterfly costume turns her into a real butterfly” and the wings “flap-flap her right up into the sky?” Stinky Face’s worry that a neighbor will not realize that the costumed children are not really monsters, ghosts, and such is a very real concern for some children.
Some of the questions, based on his real fears give verisimilitude to the goofier questions thatcome from his fantastic imagination. Thank goodness Momma has an imagination that is just as fruitful and tempered with extraordinary wisdom. When Stinky Face starts thinking that he should alter his costume plans at the last minute, Momma calmly says “How about this year we stick with your ghost costume?”
She never wavers from her position of love, but she also provides the proper sense of parental responsibility in excellent balance. If you have not met Stinky Face and his Momma, do not miss the opportunity to do so as soon as possible.