Reviews for Stinky
"Eleanor Davis's comic has a visual narrative that's as smooth as butter and an accommodatingly waggish text for kids starting their reading careers."
--Kirkus Reviews Best of 2008
"Davis' colorful art makes Stinky and his swamp delightfully attractive to young readers."
"Using a controlled vocabulary with plenty of repetition, alliteration, and synonyms, this is a well-crafted book for beginning readers. As an added bonus, Davis has written a story first and second graders will actually want to read...An excellent addition to the TOON Books collection."
"Newcomer Eleanor Davis['] art is dynamic, cute, and funny in the best comics tradition and her storytelling is concise and purposeful in the best kid-lit tradition. Stinky is remarkably sweet."
--The A.V. Club
"The charming cartoon artwork, full of humorous details, complements the text, and the muted color scheme makes Stinky endearing rather than scary. The simple vocabulary and repetition of words make the text accessible for emergent readers, who will love the graphic-novel format. The engaging plot shows young readers that it's possible to make friends with those who may seem very different from themselves."
--School Library Journal
"Features agreeably distinct, faintly retro graphics in a crystal-clear sequential layout dotted with carefully placed environmental print and sound effect ('BLORP BLORP') to complement the speech balloons. The winning story carries itself on spunk and a controlled vocabulary that combines judiciously chosen sight words (onions, gross) with easily sounded-out words (slimy slugs!) that will have emerging readers in stitches."
"Lovely, heartwarming stuff, beautifully illustrated and packed with delightful, funny touches...Another hit from TOON Books."
--Forbidden Planet International
More reviews for Stinky
“Stinky is as much of a pleasure to actually read as it is to look at... No matter if Stinky is enjoyed alone or with an adult, it is a book young readers will request time and time again. The fun storyline, lush visuals, and appropriate vocabulary work together to make the book an absolute pleasure worthy of a place in any collection of short-chapter books.”
--No Flying No Tights
“This was a great story about unlikely friendships.”
“This book did a great job putting forth the idea that friends are and can be diverse and come from different backgrounds [and] an excellent job in reinforcing that stereotypes and pre-conceived beliefs are often misconceptions.”
“Stinky can be enjoyed by generations of readers thanks to its timeless tale of childhood feuds and lack of dated cultural references... Davis’ artwork shows just how well comic books can help improve a child’s vocabulary and teach visual literacy. Moments like these remind readers of the simple joy of comics – and easily earn Stinky a place next to picture book classics such as William Steig’s Shrek. “
“It's standard Beauty and the Beast fare, but without the morality tale: it's just a cute story.”
“The drawings are completely adorable, and the language is perfect for young readers... Stinky is a miracle... Kids everywhere have known for generations that comics are awesome. It seems that schools are finally also realizing this; TOON Books are being adopted in curriculums around the country. Most importantly for us, they've been adopted by a six-year-old in Los Angeles who, previously, didn't feel confident about reading. We love our Stinky and can't wait to read more. Thank you, TOON BOOKS! Thank you and thank you!”
“Evidently, there is a monster who lives in the swamp just outside of town, and his name is, Stinky. He is surrounded by his other swamp-bound friends like Wartbelly the toad, slimy slugs and a family of possums.
In a paired down and somewhat simplified graphic novel style, Writer and Artist Eleanor Davis spins the clever tale of how Stinky the swamp monster haunts, pesters and eventually befriends a little boy. Initially, Stinky doesn't like him because he's different. Little boys like to eat things like candy and apples and more importantly they take baths, whereas Stinky likes to eat pickled onions and play in the mud. After a bunch of failed attempts to scare the little boy away, Stinky starts to realize he has a lot in common with his little nemesis.
Having grown up with comic books, and fully embraced the underground movement of the genre in the eighties (including RAW Magazine!), it is fascinating to watch my four year old eagerly try to follow along with the flow of panels and make sense of the dynamic style of story-telling. Sure, this is a far cry from the simple panel work of Caldecott Winners like Mo Willem's, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus , or the open flow of Ian Falconer's Olivia , but it was obvious mid-way through the story that my son was up for the challenge. The chapter breaks are perfect for spent parents, like myself, who need a good break-point for story time (so far my efforts have been fruitless).
Stinky is one of many new stories published by Raw Junior under the tutelage of Art Spiegelman (acclaimed author of the Pulitzer-prize winning graphic novel, Maus ) and Francoise Mouly (of The New Yorker and RAW Book fame). Raw Junior is tapping into the rich soil of the comic book genre to reinvent and redefine the world of children's books.
Even though this is a bit of a challenge for the younger readers, I highly recommend this book. The adorable illustrations and clever story-telling draws our boys into the page and keeps their attention, as a parent, what more could you want? The only problem I see with this line of storybooks is that they won't be able to make them fast enough for our voracious little readers."
"The best kind of children's book is one that adults can enjoy equally. Reading Eleanor Davis' Stinky , the newest addition to the TOON Books line, I can't help but feel that Davis would agree. When I was reading Stinky , my initial thought was how much I'd have loved this book as a child. My second though was how much I was enjoying it as an adult.
Stinky Seymour and his pet toad Wartbelly lives in the smelly, dirty swamp. There, not only can Stinky hang out with the other animals and creature in the swamp, but he can stay away from children, Children like to take baths, eat cake and apples, and hate monsters, so Stinky needs to avoid them at all costs. When a young boy named Nick decides to build a tree house in the swamp, though can Stinky chase Nick away in order to keep his happy home?
What I really loved about Stinky from the very beginning is how well Davis has mapped out the lay of the land. I'm not talking about just the amp that is printed in the book's endpapers, but how it really feels like a place you could visit. Stinky and Nick's back-and-forth interactions aren't confined to single space, but different sections and locations of the swamp. Places like the Possum Tree and the Bottomless Pit are exactly the sort of thing I'd want to see in a book; I can see myself as a kid imagining all sort of new adventures to take place them.
Mind you, the story itself in Stinky is pretty darn good. Stinky's attempts to scare off Nick are funny, but at the same time are also reasonable and easily-understandable tactics for Stinky to take. And while the conclusion may be a bit predictable, I really appreciated the way in which Davis told it. It has a lot of heart, and felt natural. Davis also doesn't write down to her audience, automatically spelling everything out. I appreciated that if you read between the lines there's a story about Nick's family and recent changes in it that you can pick up on, by way of example.
Davis's art is absolutely adorable. It's impressive that Davis can draw characters like Wartbelly the toad in a way that makes her clearly smelly and slimy, but at the same time actually cute. (The little hearts around her head when Nick first meets her had me laughing for a couple of minutes.) The little details that she adds into each page couldn't help but make me fall in love with her art, from the animals cheering on the sidelines as Stinky comes out of the pit, to the sleeping possums snoring away while Stinky stomps by. Each page has a nice little touch just waiting to be discovered, all drawn in Davis's soft, warm style. If you can't love her drawing of the little frog wearing reading glasses as he sits under a miniature umbrella and reads a book, well, I don't know what else to tell you.
Stinky is another great addition to the TOON Books line. I'd read Davis's mini-comics in the past, but this is an absolutely enchanting first major work. Hopefully TOON Books has already tapped her to create book- or if not, it's because she has another book at another published in the works, What can I say? I loved Stinky from start to finish; I've probably read it a dozen times and suspect I will keep doing s for some time to come. Books like this bring all the excitement and winder I had reading books when I was younger, and I love how ell Davis was able to bring that back in a heartbeat."
“My greatest discovery this year had to be the entire catalog of TOON BOOKS, a few of which I will highlight, all of which are eminently readable out loud.
Stinky by Eleanor Davis is the story of a swamp creature who comes to appreciate the seemingly icky boy who wants to share his space. As with all books in this series, the illustrations are amazing and the details are many. I especially love the map of the swamp.”
“Stinky is a swamp monster and he lives up to his name. In this graphic novel, Stinky loves smelly onions, mushy, mucky mud and slimy slugs. What he doesn’t like are kids because they don’t like what he likes, they take BATHS, and they eat cake and apples! When a kid named Nick builds a tree house in Stinky’s swamp, Stinky thinks of several plans (Plan A, Plan B…) to scare Nick off. Nothing seems to work—from a smelly toad named Wartbelly to ghosts, Nick takes all of Stinky’s tricks in stride. Nick begins to become a permanent resident much to Stinky’s dismay. Can a boy who doesn’t mind getting dirty and a smelly swamp monster become friends? It takes a lost hat to resolve the conflict.
This delightful story is well supported by the comic book style graphics. Stinky has a broad, wide body, a huge mouth, big teeth and horns. His orange shirt has his name written boldly across the front. The shirt clashes deliciously with his purple, spotted body. The rich, bold colors clearly reflect the playful nature of the story. Speech bubbles with dashed lines signify that Stinky is whispering; words jump out of the speech bubbles when Stinky and Nick are excited. The pictures invite close inspection. Finding a bird with a clothespin on its beak, upside down bats and opossums, and a mole reading a book are all delightful finds. Stinky is a 2009 Honor Book for the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award which is given by ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children), a branch of ALA, for distinguished books for beginning readers. This story of unexpected friendship is highly recommended for beginning readers through third grade.”
-- Library Thing
“The story of Stinky, an adorable swamp monster, who is appalled when a human child builds a treehouse in his swamp. After trying and failing to scare the boy away, the two find they are able to be friends.”
“Summary: The book begins by introducing the main character Stinky. He wakes up in the mornings and speaks to everyone inside and outside his home. He exclaims how he loves stinky days! He takes his pet toad out on a walk when he runs into a town. You soon find out that stinky does not like kids because they like to bathe and they don’t like smelly monsters. He soon finds out that a young boy has built a tree house in his tree! The stinky monster tries to scare the boy off by putting his smelly toad in the tree house but this did not scare the boy. The boy and the toad became close friends! The smelly monster creates another plan in which he hides the boys hammer in a smelly swamp. This plan failed too because the boy found the hammer. The smelly monster moves onto plan C in which he disguises himself as a ghost and tries to scare the boy. The monster sheet pulls off and he is revealed to the boy. The monster takes off running from the boy and the boy loses his hat when he is running. The monster later finds the hat and kicks it down a deep hole. Soon the monster finds out that it was the boy’s lucky hat and tries to retrieve it for him. He accidently falls into the hole and the boy recues him. At the end of the story, the boy and the smelly monster become friends.
Response: Before taking this course, I had never read a graphic novel. Now that I have read two graphic novels I have to say that I love them! Graphic novels can keep anyone's attention, even those with short attention spans. The storylines are action-packed and they jump from scene to scene. As a reader, you have to pay close attention, not only to the text but to the illustrations, too. The book Stinky does such a great job with having text and illustrations that help tell the story. An example of this would be when Stinky the monster kicks Nick’s hat down in the hole. It does not say what he did in the text but by looking at the great illustrations you can tell that this is what he did. I believe that graphic novels are a great source of literature that teachers need to introduce to their students. It is a type of literature that might be interesting to a student who does not usually enjoy reading. It will allow students to see the variety of literature and that literature can be fun. Graphic novels are similar to comics and this will automatically pull some students in because a lot of kids love to read comics or comic strips. As an activity in your class, have your students discuss the difference between comics and graphic novels and allow them to create their own comic strip! “
--My Children's Literature Blog!
“Learning to read should be fun. All too often, however, the books available for beginning readers are simple-minded and boring.
Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, sought to change all that with his brilliantly witty books for beginning readers, such as ‘The Cat in the Hat.’ So several years ago, the American Library Association decided to salute Geisel's efforts to make reading fun by establishing a special award in his name.
The Geisel Award, first given in 2006, is bestowed annually to the authors and illustrators of the most distinguished books for beginning readers. Chosen by a group of librarians, the winner of the Geisel Award is announced the same day as the Newbery and Caldecott medals.
If you're a parent whose child is just learning to read, give the Geisel winners a try. You can find out more about the award and previous winners at this Web site.
While the winning books have so far been beginning readers, several of the Geisel Honor -- or runner-up -- books have been picture books, such as ‘Jazz Baby’ by Lisa Wheeler, or even non-fiction, like ‘Vulture View’ by April Pulley Sayre. This year, the Geisel Honor books included a picture book, a non-fiction volume and even a graphic novel.
Stinky's a swamp-dwelling monster who dislikes kids because they like to take baths, they don't like mud and they eat cake and even apples. So Stinky is appalled when a boy decides to build a tree house in one of his trees. Despite his best efforts, however, Stinky can't get rid of the boy and they eventually become friends, brought together by Stinky's enormous toad, Wartbelly. In ‘Stinky’ (Toon Books, $12.95), author-illustrator Eleanor Davis has created a graphic novel that's perfect for beginning readers. As in all the Toon Book readers, kids can get the entire story by just looking at the pictures, which cuts down on frustration as they attempt to decipher the text. (Ages 4-7.)”
“This is similar to an ‘I can read’ book for beginning readers, only in graphic novel/comic format. The illustrations are so cute and endearing I absolutely fell in love with this book after I read it. I am hoping Eleanor Davis is concocting a series of Stinky books!
Stinky is a monster of the swamp who loves everything gross, including his pet toad, Wartbelly! He loathes children and is beside himself when a kid actually builds a treehouse in his swamp!! He thinks of ‘gross’ things to do to the boy to make him scared of the swamp, and in the end is surprised by a wonderful friendship! An adorable book!”
--Kiddie Lit Book Blog
“Stinky is a little monster who lives in a swamp. He loves terrible smells, his swamp, his pet toad, mud, slimy slugs, and--I think you get the point. He can't stand children because they like to bathe, they don't like the things he likes, and because they eat sweet foods. Stinky is therefore horrified when a boy ventures into the swamp, where he builds a tree house.
Stinky quickly decides on a campaign to get rid of the little boy, but he soon discovers that the little boy does not appear to fit Stinky's picture of what a child is supposed to be like. Instead, the boy is full of surprises, and he throws Stinky off his stride.
In this delightfully funny and original graphic novel, Eleanor Davis gives her readers a wonderful story to read and to look at. Rebus filled speech balloons give children who are new to reading on their own a helping hand, and the text is perfectly suited to emergent readers. With delightful illustrations and a splendid story, this graphic novel is sure to bring Eleanor Davis into the limelight. “
“Stinky enjoys his stinky yet simple life. His cave has bats and bugs and a pet toad named Wartbelly. He has an abundant supply of pickled bananas, pickled eggs, and pickled onions. The moment he leaves his cave, his neighbors call him by name. ‘Hi, Stinky,’ says the squirrel and dragonfly. ‘Good morning, Stinky,’ says the bird and the porcupine. Even the turtle, frogs, and alligator greet Stinky.
His swamp has mushy, mucky mud and a bottomless pit and an onion patch and wonderfully stinky smell. Best of all, it’s all his. Ah…home smelly home.
Stinky must be careful, however, because on the other side of the swamp is a town. ‘Towns have kids,’ Stinky explains, ‘and kids don’t like swamps. They like to take baths!’ How could a monster befriend anyone who doesn’t like mud or slugs or smelly monsters like him? ‘I stay away from them,’ he declares.
Stinky does all he can to avoid kids, but what can he do when a kid wanders onto his territory? A kid! In his swamp! Stinky tries to get rid of the boy. He tries to stink him out with Wartbelly. He steals his hammer and tries scaring him with a ghost costume. Nothing works. Stinky’s final plan? Give up.
In his frustration Stinky gets himself into quite a predicament – trapped at the bottom of the bottomless pit! (‘Well, maybe not a bottomless pit!’ Stinky realizes. ‘But it’s very deep.’) And who is the only person in the swamp to hear his cries? Yep, it’s the boy, Nick.
Now Stinky’s only hope is something he has always tried to avoid. A kid! More specifically, the boy he tried so desperately to run out of his swamp.
Eleanor Davis’ book is a great addition to the Toon Book library, and a great addition to any classroom library with emerging readers, especially readers whose likes and dislikes include mushy, mucky mud, slimy slugs, and stinky smells.”
--Help Readers Love Reading!
“Interview with Eleanor Davis
So I don't normally do interviews, but you guys know how much I loved TOON Books' recent release, Stinky by Eleanor Davis, so when I heard she was willing to do interviews, I was like, ‘Sign me up!’
So with a big THANK YOU to Eleanor for visiting, I give you...
Adrienne: What paths in life have led you to a career as a comic book artist (Comic book author? Author/Illustrator? Goddess of story? What job title do you prefer?)
Eleanor: (I just go with Cartoonist, it's the easiest!) My parents were always very into comics, from the old undergrounds of the 60s, to Manga, to classic newspaper comics and kids comics like Little LuLu and Carl Barks' Donald Duck . We had a lot of comic books around the house and I grew up reading them, and occasionally drawing some of my own. Then when I was in high school a friend introduced me to the Zine/Mini-Comics movement, especially the work of John Porcellino. I was blown away by all the people out there that were making really outstanding work and expressing themselves through comics. I started making my own minis, went to Savannah College of Art and Design to study sequential art, and here I am!
Adrienne: What kind of work have you been doing, aside from Stinky ?
Eleanor: I do both comics for kids, and also comics for adults. I take both of them equally seriously, although my kids stuff is always upbeat and fun (because that's what I liked as a kid) and my adult work is more ambiguous. My adult work is published in the Fantagraphics comics anthology MOME. I'm also working on a big project with my boyfriend, Drew Weing --a kid's graphic novel called The Secret Science Alliance . It's an adventure story about awesome kid inventors, and it's coming out from Bloomsbury Books in 2010. It's going to be really fun!
Adrienne: Had you been thinking about doing books for children for a long time before Stinky , or was this a relatively new idea? Have you done work for children before?
Eleanor: I started working on The Secret Science Alliance before I even started thinking about Stinky , and they've been my two big projects for kids. I didn't think much about doing comics for kids before I started The Secret Science Alliance , but kids' stuff is easier to pitch to publishers, so I figured I'd give it a shot. As soon as I started working on a kids' book, I got really into it. I've always been a big fan of children's literature, and my boyfriend and I take kids' books really, really seriously. So it's been a fun challenge to myself to grow in that direction.
Adrienne: Where did you get the idea for Stinky ?
Eleanor: Well, as I said, I was already working on The Secret Science Alliance , which involved a lot of thinking about and drawing inventions and machines, which, it turns out, is really difficult. So I decided to draw a comic set entirely in a swamp. Also I love drawing monsters, because they are impossible to mess up. As long as they look cool, anything goes!
Adrienne: One of the things I like best about the book is that Stinky talks about how much he hates kids, but when Nick comes into the swamp, we can see from Stinky's facial expressions that he's really feeling things like worry and fear and confusion. It's nice to see a book with a message that's subtle. How intentional was that on your part?
Eleanor: I'm glad you liked it! That was definitely something I was going for, and I'm glad it read clearly. I tried to keep it pretty subtle; it's a book with a pretty clear message but I didn't want it to come off too preachy. I really hated preachy stuff when I was a kid!
Adrienne: What were the books/comics you most loved as a kid? What do you most love today? (I know that's a hard question to answer. When someone asks me what my favorite books are, I think, ‘Everything!’)
Eleanor: Hmm, let's see. As a little kid I loved Eloise books, anything by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Little LuLu and Donald Duck (of course), the My Father's Dragon books, Harriet the Spy , The Kid-Der-Kids (a comic from the turn of the century by Lyonel Feininger)--and the list goes on and on and on. These days as far as prose I'm reading a lot of Virginia Woolf and Penelope Fitzgerald, and some truly wonderful anthropology books by Peter and Iona Opie about children's games. In the comic book line I've been loving Gipi, Joann Sfar, Dan Zettwoch, and Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, to name but a criminal few. A list of favorites would be impossible!”
“The new publisher TOON Books, created by New Yorker Art Editor Francoise Mouly and her husband Art Spiegelman, has released a number of children's comics that are worthy of a place on your kid's bookshelf. Here is the first of three reviews of their newest books.
In Eleanor Davis's Stinky (Toon Books, 2008, 40 pages, $12.95), the title character is a smelly monster who tries to defend his beloved swamp from the encroachment of a friendly boy. Stinky doesn't want the boy around because he thinks kids don't like the mud, smelly things or monsters. But hey - this kid does! And so they become buddies in spite of Stinky's initial feelings.
It's a very sweet story, and one that I felt comfortable reading to my three-year-old. It's fun, moves along quickly, and includes lots of little funny bits about all the gross stuff that Stinky loves.
And the art really is perfect. In fact, in my review of America's Best Comic 2008, I wrote about how creator Eleanor Davis's creatures ‘seemed to come straight out of childhood nightmares and fairy tales.’
You can tell that Davis was born to draw stuff like this. The art is distinctive yet attractive, simple enough for children to follow but never dull.
The whole thing is a pleasure to read. It's a great comic book for kids.”--ILoveRobLiefeld.Blogspot.com
“Eleanor Davis' Stinky is what the big screen Shrek would have been if it was actually filmed for younger kids. You have the monster ‘Stinky’ and his pet toad ‘Wartbelly’ who live in a delightfully dirty cave in the middle of the swamp. Occasionally Stinky goes to the fringes of his environment to take a peek at town, which is full of kids who take baths and "don't like the mucky mud, slimy slugs or smelly monsters like me!" Stinky stays away from kids out of fear, but when one of them comes into the swamp to build a tree house, he finds himself forced to defend his domain and sets about forcing the kid to leave.
What follows are the sort of hijinks you would expect: Stinky puts smelly Wartbelly in the tree house hoping to send the kid running, but he adopts the toad instead and names her Daisy. Stinky hides some of the kid's tools, tries to scare him, and eventually steals his hat and drops it into a ‘bottomless pit.’ It turns out the hat was especially dear to the boy (whose name it turns out to be Nick), and Stinky feels guilty and braves the pit to return it. Eventually the monster and the boy sit down and have a conversation and learn their common love for the swamp makes them better friends than enemies. There's potential for all kinds of future adventures here, and the mere hope of finding someone like Stinky will be enough to draw a lot of kids into the outdoors.
Davis uses a big, bold palette here; the colors are deep and rich, and the text is often highlighted by big WOWs and YOWs. When showing what Stinky thinks most kids are like, she counters with pastels that jump off the page with their blandness, making Nick and the swamp (and Stinky) that much more appealing. One of the things I really liked about the illustrations was that Nick is a t-shirt, shorts, and barefoot kid - you couldn't ask for a better depiction of summer - and yet he is decidedly modern as well. There's nothing scary here, but a whole lot of fun (and even some gross-out goodness). Stinky was a big hit with my six-year old, and I'm sure he will enjoy a lot of fans.“
“In the never ending struggle against misconceptions about those who are different from us, few people consider what preconceived notions oogly monsters have of humans. Eleanor Davis’ easy reader graphic novel ‘Stinky’ investigates the possibilities through a mix of old-fashioned cartoon good feelings and modern gross humor that sit quite nicely next to each other.
Stinky is a big-headed, stubbily-horned, purple, polka-dotted monster with an obese pet frog named Wartbelly and a penchant for pickled onions. Stinky has a clear vision of what human kids are like, pristine little squeaky clean bores who don’t like yucky things. Enter one kid with a treehouse to undercut Stinky’s expectations.
These are simple lessons about bigotry that reach to harder, more complicated realities, and they are presented in amusing, likable scenarios. If it’s sad that we still have to teach such lessons to children in 2008, it’s at least nice when the necessary preaching comes in the form of stories like ‘Stinky.’ Pickled onion jokes make everything easier to swallow.”
“Stinky Seymour is a monster who lives in the swamp. The dirty, mucky, smelly, gooey swamp. He lives with his pet toad, Wartbelly, and really loves his pickled onions.
What he doesn't love is the town on the other side of the swamp, because towns have - kids! Kids like to eat apples (yuck!) and take baths (double yuck!), and they don't like his dirty, mucky, smelly, gooey swamp.
And that's just the way Stinky likes it.
But then Nick, a new kid from the town, builds a tree house in Stinky's swamp. Stinky is not about to let this go on, so he hatches a plan that will get the kid out of his swamp.
What follows is a fun adventure where Stinky and Nick both learn a thing or two - Stinky about the type of kids who love swamps, and toads, and ghosts, and Nick about making new friends.
The Raw Junior books are a wonderful introduction to graphic novels for kids, and STINKY is a great addition to the line. The full-color illustrations fit perfectly with the story, and the text is simple enough for younger readers to read on their own or with a parent. A really fun book!”
“In an easy-to-read purple and green-toned graphic novel, greet the day with Stinky, a round-headed purple swamp creature, and his pet toad, Wartbelly, as they emerge from their smelly cave filled with rats, bats, and pickled onions, and go for a morning stroll in the swamp. ‘I love the mushy, mucky mud. I love the slimy slugs,’ Stinky proclaims contentedly. But on the other side of the swamp is a town, a place with human kids who like to take baths and who don't like smelly monsters. Or so Stinky thinks. When Stinky spies a barefooted boy with a red cap and a toolkit climbing up into a tree house he has obviously just constructed, an outraged Stinky vows to make that kid get out of the swamp. It's not that easy. It seems the spunky kid likes it there, and none of Stinky's plans seems to scare him at all. Even though Stinky does some pretty mean things to him—like hiding his hammer and kicking his red hat into a bottomless pit—readers will understand the monster’s motivation and root for Stinky and the boy to get together as friends.
One of the very kid-friendly Toon series from Little Lit Library (run by Françoise Mouly, wife of graphic novel pioneer Art Spiegelman, author of Maus), this illustration-infused early reader, winner of a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor (silver medal), uses classic cartoon panels, balloon dialogue, and lots of swampy details to immerse readers in the story. Children will want to continue the story in similar style, writing and drawing the future exploits of Stinky Seymour and his new friend, Nick.”
--Read Kiddo Read
“I was so enthralled with Eleanor Davis's graphic novel The Secret Science Alliance and enchanted by Stinky that I had to know more about the amazing person who created these spectacular, perfectly balanced books that combine a very visual storytelling style and just the right amount text to make a new, for me anyway, kind of reading experience. As an art school drop-out, I was fascinated to learn the about the many aspects that go into creating sequential art (the fancy art school term for comic books.) As a lover of novels with almost no background in reading graphic novels, I was hoping for some education and maybe even a little instruction in appreciating the art of the comic book. Eleanor was extremely articulate, interesting and helpful!
How did you connect with Françoise Mouly at TOON Books? I have read a few interviews with her, is she as cool as she seems?
Françoise found my website and contacted me about the TOON books project. And, she's even COOLER than she seems! She's not only a powerhouse and an amazing editor and art director, she's interesting and funny and really, really nice!
Had you written Stinky before connecting with TOON Books?
Nope! I came up with the idea after Françoise contacted me.
Did you draw, ink and color Stinky?
Francoise Mouly and Jonathan Bennett are credited for Book Design on Stinky. What does this mean?
I only made the images and words; Françoise and Jonathan were the ones who put them together into a beautiful book. That's a big job including decisions about book size, paper stock, indicia, endpapers, color scheme, placement of spot illos, and cover design - those nice spines all the toon books have, the lovely matte hardcovers, the title design, etc.”
“Kids love it when characters play against type. Not only does this method of storytelling pave the way for some humor, but it also allows the author to challenge conventional thinking. The children’s lit landscape is full of birds that don’t like to fly, kids that want to be adults, dogs that want to be wolves, doughnuts that want to be dogs, cats that want to be chihuahuas, and so on. Add Stinky to this list. A purple monster who leads a disgustingly smelly life, yet is afraid of children. Eleanor Davis, in her children’s book debut, turns out a easy reader comic with a solid balance of humor and subtle poignancy. Well illustrated and fun to read, ‘Stinky’ will be a hit with young readers.
Living in the swamp, Stinky is surrounded by all things smelly. Mud, toads, and pickled onions are abundant, and the purple monster couldn’t be more pleased. That happiness fades when Nick, a kid from the neighboring town, decides to build a treehouse right in the middle Stinky’s home turf. The problem? Kids are too clean. Kids eat disgusting things. Stinky tries his best to get Nick to leave, but in doing so realizes that they have a lot in common. The monster discovers that all kids might not be the same and the unthinkable might be possible: to be friends with one.
Vivid illustrations splash across each page, moving the action along in style. The simplified images manage to retain detail, yet stay uncluttered, clearing the way for the word-balloon dialog.
Sure to make its way into kid’s hands, ‘Stinky’ will be a popular choice with beginning readers. I wholeheartedly approve.”
“Stinky is a monster-ish looking thing who's very funny! He loves gross smelly stuff, so when a boy in the neighborhood next to his smelly swamp comes poking around, they end up having a bit of a battle over who can be in the swamp!”
“With all due respect to Art Spiegelman and his decades worth of revolutionary comics storytelling, his JACK AND THE BOX is only my second favorite Toon Books title.
Hanging in the forest, noshing his pickled onions and happily shooting the breeze with his warty toad; Stinky is the coolest little monster in town. But when he sees a tree house being built (on his favorite tree, no less!) the poor little freak is beside his purple self. He spots the terrifying intruder- a young boy whistling happily as he strolls barefoot through the woods. The suburbs are encroaching on Stinky's home!
But he's got a few tricks up his sleeve to scare this kid off, starting with putting his prized pet toad into the tree house. Unfortunately this is just the first ploy that backfires. The kid loves the toad and adopts him immediately. And so it goes until Stinky learns that he and this kid have a lot in common and just might be better off as friends.
As I said, this is Davis' first published comic book and she nails it. So much so that she's nominated for an Eisner Award this year. The narrative is flawless, the images pop with color and personality and the story is completely charming. It's far too easy to make this kind of material pretentious or cutesy. But Davis' story is heartfelt. The humor is never forced; it comes organically from the character.
She makes Stinky the kind of dude any kid would want to hang and eat pickled onions with.”
“Stinky the swamp monster is at first determined to rid his beloved ‘muddy, slimy, smelly swamp’ of Nick, only to realize that this dreaded ‘kid’ is not the appallingly clean intruder he supposes him to be. A 2009 Geisel Honor Book.”
“Book Reviews: Kids can learn about friendship with these funny and insightful stories
Graphic books are all the rage. Series such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid are introducing young children to the pleasures of comic book-style reading, and Davis' Stinky is one of the newest and brightest of the genre.
With plenty of color and funny vintage-look illustrations, Stinky is the tale of a purple monster who loves pickles and possums but is afraid of children. Stinky assumes kids don't like gross, messy, swamps; he is certain that the boy who builds a treehouse nearby will leave if Stinky hides his baseball cap and hammer. Nick, however, has other plans, befriending Stinky's toad friend Wartbelly and embracing all things smelly and gross.
Readers will love that the pair end up meeting and being pals. The book's humor and retro look should also appeal to kids ages 6 to 11.
Toon Books, a new label published by Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman, is one of the first lines of hardcover comics written specifically for emergent readers. A smart way to keep visual literacy in kids' books as they become better readers, comics can also hook reluctant readers in ways text-only books don't. “
“Eleanor Davis' Stinky , which is published by Toon Books, was named for an ‘Honor Book’ (runner-up) for the 2009 Geisel Award, named for the famed creator of the Dr. Seuss library of children's books, is presented annually by the American Library Association to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English during the preceding year.
Eleanor Davis' Stinky is the first of the Toon Books' graphic novels specifically designed for young readers to attain Geisel ‘Honor Book’ status. Comic pioneers Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman launched Toon Books in the spring of 2008. Eva Volin, Supervising Children's Librarian for the Alameda Free Library in California and a recent Eisner Award judge, reviewed Stinky for ICv2 and gave it ‘5 stars out of 5’."
“This is the only Geisel winner/honor our library doesn't have, so I thought I'd check it out! It's on the classic and pervasive easy reader theme of friendship. A slightly lonely, but generally happy monster in a swamp, and a new boy in town. At first, Stinky doesn't think he could ever be friends with a HUMAN! They like to eat yucky things like cake and take baths! But maybe they're not so different....
It's a fun and engaging storyline, easy for children to predict, but familiar and humorous. The comic panels are excellently designed for the early reader experience and the art is clean-cut and elegant. Definitely an honor winner! I'll be adding this one to our collection.”
--Jean Little Library
“Out of all the books we received, Stinky was my personal favorite.
Written and illustrated by newcomer Eleanor Davis, this book follows the story of Nick, a young boy who has just moved to a new home, and Stinky, a monster living in the woods behind Nick's new house. Nick is building a tree house in the woods, and Stinky, who hates kids, is doing everything he can to scare him off. It's a great little story, and has a really relevant message about prejudice and forgiveness that parents will appreciate. It would probably be great for readers ages 7-10.
Nick and Stinky are wonderful characters. Nick is inquisitive and fearless, and very sensitive and thoughtful of others' feelings. Stinky, on the other hand, is selfish and stubborn at first, but changes his ways when he befriends Nick. The language is simple enough for kids to read, but flows nicely and conveys the story well.
Davis' artwork is adorable, and little details add humor and whimsy to the scenes. For instance, in one panel, Stinky brushes his teeth with a toothpaste called ‘Crush’ while the forest animals look on, clothespins over their noses. The animals are especially well-drawn.
This is a great book that I think kids and parents will really enjoy reading together. “
“In our family, comic books rule. Steve has his childhood collection of Tin Tin, I have my Tank Girl posters and D loves his Lego Bionicle comics. But when Toon Books sent me a copy of Stinky, D quickly set aside his Lego comics and snatched it up.
Husband and wife team, Francoise Mouly (New Yorker art editor) and Art Spiegelman (creator of 1980's RAW comics) have started making comic books for kids again! It seems for a long time that comics were geared more for teens and adult collectors, so I'm very happy that these two had the genius idea to bring back the comic book as a way to teach little ones to read.
RAW JUNIOR books are a sturdier hardcover variety of comic. Out of their first three books, Mo and Jo and Jack and the Box, Stinky is my favorite. It is an easy reader (K-2) with a charming story about a super stinky swamp monster who ends up making friends with the same little boy he had been trying to scare away. The dialog is fun and colorful:
‘Kids don't like mucky mud, slimy slugs or smelly monsters like me!’ ‘They eat cake and apples.’ ‘Yuck!’
Eleanor Davis is the very talented artist and author of this comic and she's only 25 years old! She keeps a fun art blog and will be featured in the Giant Robot Post It group show in LA from December 13th- January 14th. More than 95 artists will have their sticky note illustrations stuck on the wall. I wish I could be there to see and purchase some of my favorite artists works.
I love Eleanor's style and soft color palette choice for this book and I'm really hoping to catch her for an interview soon.
This is one of my favorite illustrations I scanned from page 6. Look at the lower right hand corner and you'll see a little hedgehog greeting Stinky with a clothes pin clamped to his nose!”
“TOON Books are a new set of graphic novels aimed at the emerging reader. They are written and illustrated by professional artists/authors and are wildly intriguing for the young reader. My son who is reading at a Gr. 2 level enjoyed these immensely.
Stinky by Eleanor Davis is for a little more experienced reader (Gr. 1 -2). My son read this very well and he is one who struggles with reading. But the wonderful story of a Stinky swamp creature who hates clean little kids but meets a friend in a boy who seems to like the exact same mucky, gross things he does is an appealing story for boys. One that will keep kids reading just for the fun of it. Divided into chapters this book gives a good sense of accomplishment when finished by the emergent reader.
As a parent I was thrilled with these enticing books that held my reluctant reader's interest and kept him reading page after page without any pressure from mum or dad to just try and read one more page. In fact we all liked them so much I've ordered the first three for Christmas presents this year and look forward to the next books that will published next year. These 'early readers' are a fabulous use of the graphic novel format.“
“He's Stinky and a bit rotten. He haunts the fetid waters of his beloved swamp, sharing his B.O. with assorted slugs, rats and toads. When a boy from the neighboring town invade's Stinky's aromatic precincts to build a treehouse, Stinky endeavors to flush away the miscreant--the boy, after all, is known to take baths and eat fruit, whereas Stinky chews pickled onions and wouldn't know a bar of soap from a bottle of mouthwash. Eleanor Davis's comic has a visual narrative that's as smooth as butter and an accommodatingly waggish text for kids starting their reading careers. As Kirkus found, ‘The winning story carries itself on spunk and a controlled vocabulary that combines judiciously chosen sight words (onion, gross) with easily sounded-out words (slimy slugs!) that will have emerging readers in stitches.’ Most importantly, few kids will miss the chance to investigate something putrid. "I spent most of my childhood trying to get as messy as possible, and my friends and I always held a deep admiration for everything gooey, smelly, or gross,’ says Davis. ‘So when I had the opportunity to write my frist solo book, a comic book for young readers, I channeled my younger self and there was Stinky.’”
“This book came out at the end of the summer, but I finally got a chance to read it, and it's too good not to review. ‘Stinky,’ by Eleanor Davis, is part of the Raw Junior TOON Books line -- a series of young readers comics, in hardcover form, written and illustrated by some of the best independent creators around. As the father of a seven-year old son and a four-year old daughter, I'm always looking for good children's books, and I've found previous TOON Books offerings to be absolutely delightful. My kids love them, they're fun to read out loud, and they look great.
‘Stinky’ may be the best of the bunch.
Davis hasn't done a whole lot of comics yet, and she's by far the newest talent to work on a Raw Junior book, but she attacks ‘Stinky’ with confidence and grace. It's the simple tale of a grumpy monster, Stinky Seymour, and the young boy who dares to build a treehouse in the forest. There's a little bit of ‘Shrek’ in the set-up, with the swamp-loving monster wanting to distance himself from the humans who live in the nearby town, but it’s a superficial resemblance at best. For one, Stinky gets along well with the other forest creatures, who enjoy his company even if they have to wear clothes pins on their noses. And Stinky's misanthropy is targeted at those little kids who come in to the forest all clean (ewww) and eat their apples and lollipops (double ewww). It's a fun reversal of the norm for young readers, and my two kids thought Stinky Seymour was hilarious.
As Stinky's perfect, smelly, mucky little world is invaded by the precocious Nick, there's only one option for a monster who wants to keep his forest safe from human children: he has to drive the boy away, by any means necessary. An ugly, disgusting, bloated frog doesn't scare him away, nor does stealing his hammer, nor does a poorly-executed ghost haunting. Since it's a book for young readers, you can imagine that it has a happy ending, where both Stinky and Nick end up as friends, but Eleanor Davis's gorgeous artwork and whimsical storytelling make the journey toward the inevitable conclusion a whole lot of fun.
Eleanor Davis is a major cartooning talent, and ‘Stinky’ is the kind of book that everyone in your family will enjoy, no matter their age.”
“A woods Monster loves his messy home....and he loves his icky food. until a young boy comes around and the monster finds out that you may like things if you try them. Exposure and trying new things is a great theme this cartoon style book discusses. “
Stinky the monster and Wartbelly his pet toad are a couple of dirty little guys. They root and play in filth, eat pickled eggs and pickled bananas, and enjoy all things... well, stinky. The two are wary of the very scary, and very clean, kids on the other side of the swamp. He has no use for the sanitary little buggers; he steers clear.
That is, until he discovers that a little boy made a tree house right in the middle of Stinky's swamp. He vows to ride his world of the boy. Stinky tried his best to shoo the child- hiding his tools, stinking up the tree house, dressing as a ghost- but to no avail. When the boy loses his hat, Stinky finds it and throws it into the local bottomless pit. Stinky's conscience gets the best of him when he realizes it was the boy's lucky hat, so Stinky tries to retrieve it, falling into the pit. It is the boy who saves him and an unlikely friendship is formed.
TOON Books creates comics for emergent readers, ages 4 and older and was started by Pulitzer Prize-winning comic creator Art Spiegelman (Series Advisor) and New Yorker Art Director Françoise Mouly (Editorial Director).
Never before have we seen comics designed for emergent readers and Stinky fits the bill for a kid's first comic. Mixing stink and mud, toads, slugs and possums together with a helping of diabolical plot to scare the pants off a little boy, and you have a story that children will delight in experiencing over and over again.
The art is delicate and creamy, colorful but slightly muted. There are 1 to 4 panels per page, with small amounts of dialogue.
Stinky is a perfect concoction for very young children, and a good primer for readers who have learned to read and those who cannot yet read by themselves.
In the Classroom
Stinky is an obvious choice for the early childhood and kindergarten classroom.
Reading should be fun and enjoyable; reading should be a treat for children, a bright moment in their inquisitive lives. Stinky provides that experience for emergent readers.”