Here Comes Stinkbug! by Tohby Riddle

Inside the CBCA Shortlist

This is the 30th and final of this year’s CBCA shortlisted books that I have written about for PaperbarkWords blog. I have included a synopsis and ideas to use in the classroom for each book.

Congratulations to all the shortlisted creators and we look forward to celebrating the winners and honour books further on 16th August.

Stinkbug in Here Comes Stinkbug (Allen & Unwin) tries to be friendly but he can’t help his stink, which causes the other insects to cringe and move away. He stinks even more when under pressure but tries to stink less for the sake of the others. He is happy with his efforts because “even a charming spider wanted to make friends with him.” When Stinkbug realises that the spider wants to eat him he stinks so much that the spider flees.

Humour is generated, in particular, by the illustrations of the worm character, beginning on the title page.

The illustrations are uncluttered, simple and age-appropriate.

This tale has several possible meanings. One is about being different and ostracised because of it. It differs from many similar stories because it highlights a trait (a stinkbug stinks) that cannot easily be changed or even changed at all. In real-life this characteristic could be many things, including blushing, height or skin colour. Alternatively, another meaning could be about a trait that can be changed, such as dealing well with angry feelings or even observing good hygiene.

Tohby Riddle’s website is

Using the book with children:

Stinkbugs and other insects Compare the illustrations of Stinkbug in the book with pictures of real stinkbugs. How are they similar and different? Find out more about stinkbugs and the other insects in the book, such as Leopard Slug.

Speech Bubbles Beginning on the cover, speech bubbles show how Stinkbug is trying to engage with others; and their reactions. Children draw Stinkbug and an insect of their choice that is not already in the book. They write dialogue in speech bubbles between Stinkbug and the insect. They could add some collage – see collage below.

Collage Find examples of where collage is used in the illustrations [flower, leaves, log, clouds].

Dots Dots are shown in the illustrations. Children look at where they are used and how they change. Discuss what they represent.

Idioms The idioms “ran for dear life” and “A penny for your thoughts” are included in the text. What do they mean here? What words could be used instead?

Picture Book into Drama Using the link below, view the video of a class of young children learning how to adapt a picture book in drama. Then adapt Here Comes Stinkbug! as an informal drama with every child contributing through acting, playing music or making sound-effects or costuming and prop-making.

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