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Stink: Solar System Superhero

Review

Stink: Solar System Superhero

written by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

When Stink Moody begins preparing for his science test the next day, he realizes he has to stuff his brain with facts about all the planets in the solar system. Stink only knows about Saturn, so he decides to get help from big sister Judy Moody. Of course, he's hoping Judy is in a good mood so she'll actually be helpful.

Judy is busy plumbing her artistic talents by creating a masterpiece out of Already-Been-Chewed gum. At first she is reluctant to help her little brother study, but Stink manages to butter her up with some flattering words about her high intelligence. The deciding factor, though, is that Stink gives Judy permission to boss him around (everyone knows how much Judy enjoys that).

Right away, Judy assists Stink by teaching him how to remember the names of all the planets. Of course, he is puzzled at first when she blurts out, "My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas." When Judy explains that the first letter of each word represents a planet, Stink is awed by his sister's inventiveness.

However, the next day's test results are a huge disappointment to the budding planet scholar. He learns that the Pizza in Judy's memory sentence is a problem. “P” may stand for "Pluto," but Pluto is no longer a planet, having been demoted by "the President of Outer Space" (at least according to Stink's version of the events). Stink is more disappointed than might be expected about Pluto's downgrading. He adores Pluto…and he relates to the smallest used-to-be-planet in the solar system. After all, Stink is the smallest kid in his class. Pluto is his second-favorite planet (he is loyal to Saturn), and he begins wondering what he can do to help this underdog ex-planet.

Meanwhile, Nick, the new kid in school, and Stink bond over their mutual distress over "The Pluto Problem." Stink is excited about all the things he and Nick have in common, but is ecstatic when he finds out that Nick's nickname is “Skunk.” What a coincidence! The two smelly-nicknamed boys put their heads together to come up with a new saying to remember the official planets plus the dwarf planets (that way, Pluto is not excluded again).

Although Stink's teacher is impressed with the boys' mnemonic sentence, the class's know-it-all, Riley Rottenberger, seems determined to squelch their pleasure. Riley even wears a t-shirt dissing Pluto and tells jokes that put the poor ex-planet down. She thinks she knows everything about space because she attended Space Camp. Their disagreement leads to an interesting solution suggested by their teacher: a debate about Pluto. But can the "Pluto Heads" make their points about why Pluto should still be a planet against Team Kick Pluto's Behind's arguments against planethood?

Filled with tons of fascinating facts about the planets, and funny and wonderful illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds (I particularly enjoyed the comics dedicated to each of the solar system's planets ) --- not to mention a lively plot starring likable Stink Moody --- STINK: SOLAR SYSTEM SUPERHERO is another big home run for author Megan McDonald. Highly recommended for early readers, reluctant readers, or anyone who loves a good story filled with plenty of laughs and facts.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on March 9, 2010

Stink: Solar System Superhero
(Stink #5)
written by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

  • Publication Date: April 9, 2013
  • Genres: Children's, Children's 5-8, Fiction
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763663921
  • ISBN-13: 9780763663926