Review Blog

Sep 27 2018

Here comes Stinkbug! by Tobhy Riddle

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523527
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Insects. Environment. Stinkbug is a little put out when his friends ask him not to stink as much as he does. After all he is a stinkbug and that's what stinkbugs do. Slug, ladybird, beetle and bumblebee all find his presence rather smelly and ask the slug to suggest that stinkbug tries to curb his smell. Stinkbug thinks long and hard about this, eventually asking the Leopard Slug not to be so slimy. He responds that being slimy is what he needs to get around. Stinkbug tries very hard not to be smelly and it seems to be working because the spider becomes friendly. But stinkbug becomes aware that perhaps the spider has serious designs on eating him. This makes the stinkbug stink even smellier, driving the spider away. So the use for his smell becomes obvious to the reader. It is a defensive mechanism, designed to help the stinkbug survive in a hostile environment.
Readers will love reading about the insects and particularly stinkbug as they come to terms with why the stinkbug stinks. Readers will see a range of insects and be able to discuss with older people the reason these insects are designed as they are, perhaps using the internet to find out the defensive mechanisms used by each of them.
Riddle has used watercolour, pencil and some collage to create his visual effects of the insects glowing against large swathes of white background. They stand out, enabling readers to see their characteristics, perhaps checking them against a more detailed image from the internet. Readers will wonder at the mechanism the insect uses to deter his enemies, and laugh at the efforts of his friends trying to change the way he is, asking them to ponder what makes me, me and what they can do if someone asks them to change something about them.
Fran Knight

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