When you open your fridge and survey the scene, what do you see? Foil-topped bowls. Lidded pans. Packaged cheese and meat. Jars of this and that.
Look harder. Every shelf and drawer is a neighborhood, in a way. Items are grouped and stacked, nestled by type. But regardless of partition or bin, each member of the fridge community has it's own internal clock. A week too long in the tall cold box, and things can run afoul.
Yes, sometimes your fridge becomes a custodian of things undeniably offensive. Unbelievably obscene. Downright stinky. Locating the source of the stench isn't for the faint of heart. Super sleuths are often required. And who better to investigate than a croissant with something to prove?
The Case of the Stinky Stench is the second book in Funk's Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series. (The third book, Mission Defrostable, will be released in September 2018.)
Our family LOVES Stinky Stench. Reading it is like tumbling headfirst into Candy Land. In this imaginative world, beloved grocery store staples transform into home-cooked landscapes, and unexpected events await beyond every turn.
The very first page serves as a proper amuse-bouche: You know right away that you're about to embark on a sensory-alerting fun-filled rhyming experience.
Inspector Croissant is tasked with unearthing the root of a horrible odor, and Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast (his aunt and uncle) are happy to help. Clues lead them to every corner of the fridge - across Salsa Ravine, around Mount Everbean, through Applesauce River, and beyond.
The investigation isn't easy. Here, we see Croissant as he trips "by Miss Steak." (My girls love finishing this gem-of-a-sentence.)
At long-last, Croissant locates the source of the stinky stench. I asked my 4 year old to point to her favorite part of the book, and this moment of discovery was her immediate choice. (Kudos to Funk for plotting and pacing mastery!)
The melodic, clever story resolves sweetly, with heart and optimism - leaving plenty of room for a sequel, but also standing alone splendidly.
As such, The Case of the Stinky Stench fits like an oven mitten alongside the warm and engaging titles already perched on the Funk bookshelf: the just-released It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk, as well as Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, Dear Dragon, and Pirasaurs! (And Funk has many, MANY more books in the pipeline... this is an author to watch.)
Therefore, with great pleasure I introduce Josh Funk - star of this month's Author Spotlight!
3 Questions with Josh Funk
My girls can't hear the word "stinky" without saying "stench." Your book has a permanent place in their mental book vault. What books shaped your love of words and story as a child?
First, anything and everything Harry Potter (although I was 21 when I started reading them). I have a really hard time reading any other book about magic because I always think “No! That’s not how spells work!” (which is exactly why I couldn’t get through chapter one in the Bartimaeus Trilogy).
And as my kids will attest, I often randomly sing songs about monkeys (you don’t?). I wonder if that stems from my younger days as a fan of Caps for Sale. “You monkeys, you! Give me back my caps!”
And I’m pretty sure I’m claustrophobic because of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. That one did a mental number on me.
The worlds you create are filled to the brim with color and personality - they seem like they are as fun to write as they are to read. What part of the writing experience lights you up most?
First, thank you. Second, I’d have to say that most of the color and lots of the personality come from the amazing illustrators with whom I’ve been paired. And those illustrators are really the answer to your question: seeing the artist’s interpretation of the text for the first time is always the most incredible experience.
As soon as I first saw what illustrator Brendan Kearney had created for Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, I immediately began brainstorming new ideas to explore deeper into the depths of his incredible illustrated fridge. Within a few weeks, I had written The Case of the Stinky Stench. And I didn’t stop there - next year we go even further in Mission: Defrostable.
From your entertaining books to your enthusiastic voice in the kidlit community, it sure seems like you were born to be a picture booker! How do you balance writing time and time spent connecting with readers and fellow writers?
Balance? What is this balance you speak of? There’s always too much to do. But I guess I just try to do what I enjoy - and I enjoy writing as well as connecting with readers and writers.
When I’m really into a manuscript, I spend lots of time writing until it’s done. And then I revise, too, of course.
But what are books without readers? I guess they’re still books ... but they’re unread books. And the truth is that there are so many amazing books being written and published right now - it’s really hard for anyone to keep up with all of them. So I try to share the books I enjoy with others … and hopefully people will notice mine in turn.
And as far as connecting with readers - that’s the whole point, right? It’s all for the kids (and adults who read to kids). As I tell students all the time, I’m just a regular guy. I know the alphabet and I like stories. If you know the alphabet and like stories, there’s no reason you can’t be a writer, too.
Thanks, Anitra, for inviting me to your blog!
The pleasure was mine, Josh! When not writing Java code or Python scripts, Josh Funk drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts. Connect with him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and on Twitter at @joshfunkbooks.
The Case of the Stinky Stench can be purchased in bookstores nationwide, as well as online through the bookseller of your choice. You also can enter to WIN an autographed copy from Josh through my Twitter page and blog!
*** WIN The Case of the Stinky Stench ***
1. "Like" this post (click the heart below)
2. Follow me (@anitraschulte) on Twitter
3. Retweet my pinned contest tweet by 10/20/17
(Submit a blog comment below and get a BONUS ENTRY!)