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Stink with a whiff of fun

STINK THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING KID. Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker. By Megan McDonald. Walker Books pound;3.99 each

Stink, a character already familiar to fans of Megan McDonald's Judy Moody series, has been given a series in his own right with appeal for Years 2 to 4. On the basis of the first two instalments, he could become more popular than his sister.

As in any character-based series for young readers, the illustrations are crucial, and Peter H Reynolds (who also illustrates the Judy Moody books) brilliantly captures Stink's tortured sense of being short and powerless.

The opening title, Stink the Incredible Shrinking Kid (Walker pound;3.99), establishes Stink as a boy who is obsessed by his height, yes, but also one who has wider interests. His fixation with America's fourth president, James Madison, crops up again in Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker, which (teachers take note) uses some 36 idioms.

McDonald's writing is pitch perfect. One of the freshest new series in a long while. Highly recommended.

Michael Thorn is deputy head of Hawkes Farm primary school, Hailsham, East Sussex

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