Great Illustrated Books

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

By Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

Viking, 1992
Pages : 56
Suggested Ages: 4 and Up
ISBN: 9780670844876

This frantic, insanely funny send-up of fairy tales presents nine little comic masterpieces, with a cast that includes "The Princess and the Bowling Ball," "The Other Frog Prince," "Little Red Running Shorts," and the malodorous title character, with a head made from a thick wheel of cheese, with bacon for a mouth and olives for eyes. You remember the cookie that everyone chased in the old folktale, "The Gingerbread Man"? At the end, the fox tricked the cookie and ate it up. In this parallel story, the refrain goes, "Run run run as fast as you can. You can't catch me. I'm the Stinky Cheese Man." But instead of chasing him, the fox says, "Oh man! What is that funky smell?"

Everyone's having a bad day in this book, from Chicken Licken and company, who get squashed flat by the Table of Contents, to the irritable Little Red Hen, who grouses incessantly about her lack of story space. There's "The Really Ugly Duckling," no swan he, which concludes with, "Well, as it turned out, he was just a really ugly duckling. And he grew up to be just a really ugly duck." All of this madness is held together by narrator Jack (of beanstalk fame) and Lane Smith's spectacularly goofy collage paintings, which earned him a Caldecott Honor (silver medal).


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If you love this book, then try:

Aylesworth, Jim. The Gingerbread Man. Scholastic, 1998.

Calmenson, Stephanie. The Frog Principal. Scholastic, 2001.

Child, Lauren. Beware of the Storybook Wolves. Scholastic, 2001.

Edwards, Pamela Duncan. The Neat Line: Scribbling Through Mother Goose. HarperCollins, 2005.

Egielski, Richard. The Gingerbread Boy. HarperCollins, 1997.

Grey, Mini. The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon. Knopf, 2006.

Graham, Bob. Dimity Dumpty: The Story of Humpty's Little Sister. Candlewick, 2007.

Hanson, Mary. How to Save Your Tail: If You Are a Rat Nabbed by Cats Who Really Like Stories about Magic Spoons, Wolves with Snout-Warts, Big, Hairy Chimney Trolls . . . and Cookies Too. Schwartz & Wade, 2007.

Hawkins, Colin, and Jacqui Hawkins. The Fairytale News. Candlewick, 2004.

Marcantonio, Patricia Santos. Red Ridin' in the Hood: And Other Cuentos. Farrar, 2005.

McClements, George. Jake Gander, Storyville Detective. Hyperion, 2002.

Palatini, Margie. Piggie Pie. Clarion, 1995.

Palatini, Margie. The Web Files. Hyperion, 2001.

Scieszka, Jon. Cowboy & Octopus. Viking, 2007.

Scieszka, Jon. The Frog Prince Continued. Viking, 1991.

Scieszka, Jon. Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories About Growing Up Scieszka. Viking, 2008.

Scieszka, Jon. Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables. Viking, 1998.

Scieszka, Jon. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. Viking, 1989.

Smith, Lane. John, Paul, George & Ben. Hyperion, 2006.

Stevens, Janet, and Susan Stevens Crummel. And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon. Harcourt, 2001.

Critics have said

There are no lessons to be learned or morals to take to heart--just good, sarcastic fun that smart-alecks of all ages will love.
Parodic humor here runs riot...irrepressibly zany fun!