Tooter looks like an ordinary skunk, but there’s a problem: he can’t spray. What good’s a skunk that doesn’t stink? Tooter’s attempts to remedy the situation (through research, diet, technology, and, finally, wishing) just get him laughed at. It turns out what he needs most is the help of a new friend: a bug who just might have the answers – and the stink – Tooter is seeking.
For his second picture book, author and elementary school teacher Brian Cretney teamed up with veteran kids’ illustrator Peggy Collins to produce a tale that is both fun and informative. The story of a new friendship between skunk and stinkbug follows a simple enough pattern, while highlighting four basic problem-solving skills: perspective, perseverance, patience, and partnership. Cretney’s tale is quick-moving and funny, and an excellent match for Collins’ bright, cartoony watercolours. Illustrations are almost all full-page, which will appeal to the targeted primary readers, but there’s a successful balance between words and pictures.
At the end of the book, readers will find information about skunks, stinkbugs, and other smelly creatures; experiments and fun facts; and instructions on how to draw the story’s main characters. All this material helps to extend the scope of the story and expand the book’s usefulness for parents and teachers.