Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Stink and the Ultimate Thumb-Wrestling Smackdown Audio

Stink and the Ultimate Thumb-Wrestling Smackdown Audio

Megan McDonald
For ages 6 to 8
Performed/read by: Barbara Rosenblat
Brilliance Audio, 2012   ISBN: 978-1469218762

Stink is very excited because today is Report Card Day and he can’t wait to see all the Outstandings that his teachers gave him. Waiting until his father is home so that they can open the report card together is agonizing, but finally it is time. Sure enough, there are lots of Outstandings on the report card. Then Stink’s parents see that there son has a U. A U for Unsatisfactory. In physical education. Stink tries to explain away his U by saying that he cannot do well in sports because he is short and small. If he plays sports he will be “crushed like a pancake.” One would think that Stink’s parents would be sympathetic, but they’re not. In fact they insist that Stink takes up some kind of sport.

   Stink starts watching different sports on the television to see if he can find one that will work for him, but none of them look remotely acceptable, until Stink learns about thumb wrestling. At last he has found a sport that he likes the sound of, a sport that requires “Strength, stamina and strategy,” but that does not require that one be big. Unfortunately, when Stink competes against his friend Webster he gets beaten. Every single time. Stink needs to practice and the only person who can help him is his big sister, Judy. Judy turns out to be a fierce competitor and Stink’s wrestling persona, Shark Hammersmash, is given a beating, but he is not cowed.

   At school poor Shark Hammersmash is beaten over and over again, and after Stink gets caught thumb wrestling with Sophie during class he gets a lecture and has to take a note home to his parents. Stinks thumb wrestling career is turning into a mega sized disaster. Maybe he should try a different sport. After he discovers that he can break pencils with one hand, Stink decides that karate is the sport that will work for him. Little does he know that learning karate requires hard work. A lot of hard work.

   When one is smaller and shorter than the other kids in one’s class, being good at sports can be problematic. The other kids are taller, their legs are longer, and they are stronger. In this wonderful Stink audio title we see that there are some things that smaller children can excel in, if they are willing to try something new, and if they are willing to do what it takes to succeed. Children will be empowered by Stink’s story, and they will have a good laugh as they follow his exploits.