Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers:
Celebrating Animal Underdogs
Written by Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
From the jacket: “Written in a humorous, conversational voice, Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers:
Celebrating Animal Underdogs offers a lighthearted look at a parade of critters that are small, slow, stinky, lazy, clumsy, shy, and more. These traits may seem like weaknesses, but they’re actually strengths. They help animals survive in an eat-or-be-eaten world. After reading this book, you might think twice before making quick judgments about the animals around us.”
We read this book a few months ago, but before writing this post I revisited the book with one of my third graders, T, who is a new convert to nonfiction. He especially loves animal books and we had a great conversation about why he loves this book.
“It teaches you about the animals and their habitat and their speeds and not everything about them really matters. We think of them as slow or stinky and that might not be the important thing about them. It was interesting to study more about these animals.”
I knew from reading about this book that Melissa Stewart thought this book might address bullying- that message came through to this student as we talked. As a teacher I might specifically address the idea he brought up- thinking or judging others based on what we think we know about them and have decided is important. Honestly, I was not sure kids would hear this subtext, but clearly they do. Add this book to your collection to build on a growing category- animal books that can teach us important lessons! Look for these underdogs. T. also loved the backmatter that included more information about each of the animals. I love that Melissa Stewart has us thinking about animals (and indeed nonfiction) in new ways. If you are not yet familiar with her fabulous website please visit it now- she has so many resources for teachers and students!