Stink #12: Stink and the Hairy, Scary Spider – Megan McDonald

Illustrations – Peter H. Reynolds

When his dollar bill origami frog leap frogs away from him, Stink encounters something really scary in his yard. Spiderzilla!

“A ginormous, hairy, scary, radioactive mutant spider!”

This is definitely not an ordinary spider. After all, it has pink toes!

Determined to get his frog back without having to encounter the arachnid again, Stink enlists the help of his sister, Judy Moody, and his friends, Sophie of the Elves and Webster. Webster, being the wonderful friend he is, decides he’s going to help Stink overcome his arachnophobia.

But spiders made him shiver. Spiders made his skin crawl. Spiders felt like a thousand tiny prickly feet marching up and down his arms and legs.

But even with spiders on the brain and his fear threatening to overwhelm him, Stink works hard to face his phobia. He learns he’s not the only one who’s scared of spiders


and that there are steps he can take to conquer his fear.

Besides catching up on Stink’s latest adventure, there’s plenty of extra content in this book. Some of the things you’ll find include fun facts about spiders, learning how to make an origami jumping frog and seeing how to make a hand shadow spider. There are also some spider jokes, which are Dad joke quality. My favourite joke was:


Q. What do you get when you cross a spider with an ear of corn?

A. Cobwebs.

See? Groan-worthy. Granted, the accompanying picture was what made me laugh.

As usual, Peter H. Reynolds’ illustrations add to the humour. My favourite picture features a rather unconventional arachnid rescue.


After having some problems with the content of the previous Stink book, this story was a welcome return to form. I’m looking forward to finding out what Stink gets up to next.


Thank you so much to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Stink’s spider phobia spurs his sister, Judy, and friend Webster to try some desensitisation techniques – until a real-life encounter takes them by surprise – in a hilarious episode offering a bonus origami activity.

Creepy! Crawly! Criminy! Everyone knows that Stink is bonkers about most scientific things. But there’s one exception: dangle a spider in front of him and he goes berserk! Stink is so freaked out by spiders that he can’t read about them. He can’t look at them. He can’t think about them. And he for-sure can’t touch them! Stink has arachnophobia (a fear of spiders), and he has it bad. But when a hairy backyard emergency arises, Stink is forced to face his fear – and eight beady eyes – head-on. Will he manage to tame the heebie-jeebies, or will he remain stuck in his web of terror? Arachno-fans will love the comics sprinkled throughout with facts about spiders as well as a hands-on origami challenge.

Stink #11: Hamlet and Cheese – Megan McDonald

Illustrations – Peter H. Reynolds

It’s spring break and Stink joins Sophie of the Elves at Shakespeare Camp. Webster is in Mexico for spring break and with the promise of learning swordplay and Shakespeare type insults (Maggot pie!), Stink is convinced that being a Shakespeare Sprite will be fun. Except Sophie of the Elves neglects to mention two important points about camp:

  1. Stink will be the only boy at camp 😳
  2. One particular girl, Riley Rottenberger, will also be there. 🤮

While Riley is sometimes a friend and sometimes an enemy, she’s certainly annoying Stink in this book as she spends most of the camp trying to smooch, follow and otherwise harass him. Usually I find Riley an amusing annoyance in Stink stories but in this one there was no amusement, only annoyance.

Call me oversensitive if you like but if this was a book aimed at teens Riley’s behaviour would be in sexual harassment territory so I’m not so sure I liked it being made a joke of in this book. I pondered this while reading and I still enjoyed the book but this behaviour didn’t sit right with me.

I hadn’t realised the impact of the interplay between the three main characters until this book where Webster is absent. While it was still entertaining I did miss the banter between Stink, Webster and Sophie of the Elves. Without Webster there to add his personality to the mix some of the charm of my favourite Stink books, like Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk and Stink and the Shark Sleepover, was missing.

I don’t know how young readers will manage with the thee, thy and thou language along with the rest of the Shakespeare-speak. It’s a good introduction to some of the themes and stories of the Bard but that language can be intimidating when you first come across it.

I would have loved to have known the contents of Riley’s letter, although to be fair I read an ARC sans illustrations and it’s possible the letter’s contents may be shown in one of the illustrations.

I was disappointed I didn’t get to see the illustrations while I was reading but based on having already read most of both the Stink and Judy Moody series I know Peter H. Reynolds will come through in this book too. His illustrations are always spot on in both series, bringing the characters and scenes to life in a humourous way. I will make a point of borrowing this book from my library once it’s released to fill in the pieces that my imagination has missed or gotten wrong.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Hie thee to Shakespeare camp with Stink to learn fake sword-fighting, spout silly curses, and prithee try to escape a kiss . . . BLUCK!

It’s spring break, and Stink is faced with a difficult choice: hang out at home with his sister, Judy, or become a Shakespeare Sprite with his friend Sophie of the Elves. Hanged be! When Sophie tells Stink that there will be swordplay and cursing at Shakespeare camp, his choice is made. But wait! How now? The eager young thespian hadn’t counted on Riley Rottenberger being a Sprite, too. And he positively had not counted on being the only boy! Fie upon’t!