Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Review: The Stinky Giant by Ellen Weiss

Teachers are huge fans of these Step into Reading books, but I've never given them much stock. They serve their purpose of giving children the confidence to read on their own. They help with practicing the mechanics. Unfortunately, many of the Step book characters come from television shows or movies like Barbie, Cars and various other Disney films.

I can see the appeal of using books with characters children are familiar with, but as a librarian, it makes me cringe. I often suggest Frog and Toad books or Amelia Bedelia books as alternatives. Dr. Seuss Easy Readers are my favorites by far.

I didn't realize until this book the Step books also come in classic stories or retellings. The Stinky Giant reads like a classic fairy tale. The main characters are shepherds and live a happy life, except for one problem. The giant who lives on a mountain above their pasture is rude, mean and causes catastrophes by sneezing, burping and doing his laundry.

The children, being the heroes of the story, climb the mountain to confront the giant about his bad behavior. Like all good fairy tales, they make a bargain with the bad guy. He will move away to a location of their choosing, IF they can figure out his riddle. "There is something you see every day, and it is one thing but also three things."

New independent readers would enjoy this book for it's challenging vocabulary and plot. They may identify with the main characters, who are the victims of a bully. When they figure out the riddle, they will be eager to explore the answer on their own. I'll be looking more carefully at these Step books when helping parents find beginning readers, now.


  1. Like you, I used to really dismiss a lot of beginning readers. I still don't like the commercialized ones, but I appreciate some of the series books thanks to my younger daughter's affinity for them.

    Great post! Thanks for linking up!

    1. Thank you, I love Read-Aloud Thursday. Storytime has been on hiatus for the past couple of weeks, so Bobo's been getting some extra read aloud time.

      I help lots of children find the perfect series for them. I try to never let any prejudices I have about certain books creep out. It's just good they are reading, period.


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