Stink (aka James Moody) is the shortest kid in the entire second grade. Every morning he has his sister Judy measure him, hoping that he’ll have grown in the night. Every day it’s the same: no new height. Then one night, feeling particularly tall, he has Judy measure him just before bed. He’s boggled when he realizes that not only has he not grown during the day, it appears he’s actually shrunk 1/4 of an inch! He wishes that James Madison (shortest man ever to win the Presidency) were around to help him understand why he’s shrinking. But in the meantime, Stink is worried: will he continue to shrink?
Readers may already be familiar with the Judy Moody books, also by author Megan McDonald. This series focuses on younger brother Stink, giving him pride of place. As reflects the relative ages of the two characters, the Stink books are a slightly younger reading level. Stink is more than just a “spin-off” character, though. His personality comes through loud and clear, with no sense that there might be other books which don’t necessarily use him as the star.The relationship between Stink and Judy is well done. Judy can be bossy and overbearing, but also clearly cares for her younger sibling.
The book as a whole will appeal particularly to boys. There is a lot of humor in the story. Stink’s attempts at comics appear scattered throughout, which might pull in some fans of other, more comic-heavy works such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Ellie McDoodle. This is a book, and series, that should be read for its own merits, however, not just because it’s Judy’s brother or has comics. The reading level is that of a transitional chapter book, one for children who are comfortable reading on their own, but have only recently moved to read “real” chapter books.