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*Stinky Stern Forever: A Jackson Friends Book* by Michelle Edwards

Also illustrated by LeUyen Pham:

A Piece of Cake

The Best Birthday Party Ever


All Fall Down

Bedtime for Mommy

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters

Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully

Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever

Freckleface Strawberry

Akimbo and the Crocodile Man
Stinky Stern Forever: A Jackson Friends Book
by Michelle Edwards
Grades 1-3 56 pages Harcourt October 2007 Paperback    

Large print, humorous illustrations, and a cartoonish cover design lets the reader know right away that Stinky Stern Forever is a children’s book. But this is a kid's book with a special twist: author Michelle Edwards has created a helpful tool that will provide compassion and counseling for those who have dealt with death on some level. Stinky Stern is a moving story of defining feelings, voicing them, and finding comfort in the face of a tragedy and can help children deal with death in all its guises, be it impending death, grief over a recent passing, or the loss of a pet. This is one of Edwards' "Jackson Friends Book" series; she has written and illustrated 13 other children’s books, and Stinky Stern Forever has garnered her more than 10 literary awards.

The story opens in the classroom with lead character, Pa Lai Vang, and the class clown - “Stinky Stern” - is teasing her yet again. This time she responds in a way that gets back at him and makes her proud. After school, Stinky Stern is racing around as usual and runs out onto the street where a car hits him. Pa Lai watches it all in shock, not knowing what to do with this experience. She goes home, and the next day the teacher announces the tragedy. Pa Lai is too afraid to admit she saw it happen, and she resorts to doodling images to pour out her grief while other classmates tell their stories. Eventually, Pa Lai finds comfort in her classmates and tells them about her experience. The teacher works with the students to come up with a craft that will help them express their feelings, and they work very hard on this project.

Stinky Stern Forever is thin at only 50 pages long. However, each page has an illustration accompanying the text, and the large font will attract developing and fluent readers. Unfortunately, the book was manufactured in China, which requires higher fossil fuel expenditure due to transportation.

LeUyen Pham created the humorous cover illustration; Iris Shih created the cover design itself. Artists may find it of interest to know that the author also produced the illustrations in the text using a Wacom Pen, sketched in Microsoft Paint, then finished in Adobe Photoshop.
Beginning readers book reviews for developing, emerging and fluent readers

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