My Stinky Summer by S. Bug

Holiday House. (Nature Diary: Bk. 3). Jul. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823440535.
Gr 2-4–In 2018, The New Yorker published the article “When Twenty-Six Thousand Stinkbugs Invade Your Home.” That horrifying true tale is listed as a source in Meisel’s latest installment in his “Nature Diary” series. Said to be written by S. Bug, this is a first-person account of the first four months of a stink bug’s life, from conception to hibernation. Yes, there is a chastely humorous illustration of two stink bugs mating. S. Bug writes about evading predators, feasting on food, and finding shelter, all while educating readers. The story is peppered with dry humor, like a recurring joke about the stink bug being the only creature proud of its triumphs—everyone else just finds it stinky. The book’s introduction is written at an adult reading level but includes numerous labeled illustrations to appeal to all readers. The book itself is composed of gorgeously detailed full-page watercolor illustrations and two-page spreads. Each day in S. Bug’s life is recounted with one or two simple sentences, such as this entry for July 4: “I was minding my own business eating some lettuce when a bird tried to eat me. I stunk him. He spat me out.” Animals and bugs occasionally spout cute lines of dialogue. Back matter includes a glossary, additional facts, and recommended reading. Kids will likely find the tale funny, and adults may even feel a bit sympathetic toward this invasive species.
VERDICT Informative for readers of all ages, the book is as charming as its perspective is unusual. A truly unique must-have for any collection.

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