“Fairly Stupid” (But Incredibly Hilarious)

“A long time ago, people used to tell magical stories of wonder and enchantment. Those stories were called Fairy Tales. Those stories are not in this book.”

And so begins the introduction of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
(©1992),written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith.

Every page of this riotous read is funnier than the last. This sharp satire parodies many classic children’s stories and fairy tales in a world where frog princes stay frogs and ugly ducklings just grow up to be ugly ducks. The book mocks not only the source material, but itself as well, as characters travel in and out of their own stories, messing things up quite a bit in the process. Featuring dynamic illustrations by Lane Smith, this Caldecott Honor book is a delight for children and adults alike.

My age recommendation for this book is 6+ for two reasons:

A) The reader should be old enough to understand satirical humor

B) The reader needs to have knowledge of the source material that the parody is derived from. If you’ve never read “The Princess and the Pea” then “The Princess and the Bowling Ball” just won’t be as funny.

The Stinky Cheese Man has been one of my most beloved reads since I was a child, and I have greatly enjoyed sharing it with family and friends over the years. So, for those kids (and adults!) out there looking for a laugh-out-loud good time, be sure to check this one out.

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