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Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express

Review

Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express

written by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Not everyone is longing to build the Great Wall of China out of cereal boxes, but Stink and his buddies, Sophie and Webster, decide to give it a try. Their efforts are hampered by extremely sticky duct tape --- so sticky that the three friends end up taped together. When they manage to pull away from each other, they notice that the Great Wall is moving and making a "wee, wee, wee" sound. Hmm…peculiar. Upon investigation, they discover three furry little guinea pigs hiding in the boxes. Stink is quite smitten with the guinea pig he found, naming it "Astro."

Stink and the gang take the animals to Mrs. Birdwistle's Fur & Fangs pet shop, where they find a mob of guinea pigs running amok. The kids help capture them, as Mrs. Birdwistle explains that she rescued them from a lab --- and that there are 101 guinea pigs in all, including the three that escaped to tour the Great Wall of China. Mrs. Birdwistle wants to save the little rodents from the animal shelter where, if they're not adopted immediately, they'll be put to sleep. But now she has no idea how she will ever find homes for that many guinea pigs, so Stink and his friends offer to help. They start out by going door-to-door, asking Webster's neighbors to adopt new pets. However, the only interest they get is from Sam the Snake Man, who is probably looking for meals for his slithery serpents. Ewww. Needless to say, that is not an option.

Rather than feeling depressed, though, Stink feels challenged. He comes up with a plan for Operation Guinea Pig, which begins with turning an old camper into the Piggymobile, a kind of guinea pig pet store on wheels. As the kids work together, they learn some fascinating facts about guinea pigs (for example, these animals see in color --- and their favorite color is green). They also crack some amusing jokes (Sophie's family calls duct tape "goose tape"). Of course, Stink is losing his heart to Astro, even while he knows that he can't keep a rodent as a pet in a house with a cat.

STINK AND THE GREAT GUINEA PIG EXPRESS is another triumphant collaboration between writer Megan McDonald and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds. The plot is exciting, funny, heartwarming and subtly educational while the illustrations (including full-page cartoon panels) are hilariously expressive. Stink's quest will appeal mightily to both early readers and to young listeners during read-aloud story time.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on March 11, 2008

Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express
(Stink #4)
written by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds