Mary's Reviews > The Stinky Cheese Man: And Other Fairly Stupid Tales

The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka
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's review
Dec 06, 2009

really liked it
Read in December, 2009

Jon Scieska The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales; illus. by Lane Smith
Unpaged Penguin 1992 ISBN: 0-670-84487-X $16.00
(Intermediate) 4 Stars

Fairy tales are not just for little children anymore! In fact if you did not read all of those basic fairy tales such as “Chicken Little” and “Little Red Riding Hood” as a child, you will now need to regress and go read them so that you can truly appreciate this convoluted, re-telling of those tales.

The caricature of Jack from beanstalk fame, is portrayed as a loud mouthed, cranky elf who is the editor of this story collection and is attempting to coordinate all of the other characters in the production with the Little Red Hen interrupting throughout. These stories are retold with actually very minor changes, but if you change a pea to a bowling ball, there is definitely a different story to tell. This book is also a helpful tool in reviewing what makes a dedication page, table of contents, and other parts of books. “ Listen Hen-forget the wheat. Here come the Title Page!”

Lane Smith has painted in an oil with vinegar technique which produces flat, colors giving them an antique sheen. Which contributes to the effect of these old fairy tales. Along with the active illustrations, many which have multiple activities being displayed there is also the continually changing size, color positioning, whether right or wrong side up of the font keeping one constantly anticipating the next turn of the page.

Older children will enjoy the challenge of comparing the differences in the original tales that they may know with these alternative viewpoints and will the Little Red Hen ever get to finish her story? Scieszka and Smith teamed up in The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and this team continues in a similar mode with this book while taking on the challenge of ten more stories in one volume which can get a little confusing some times.
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