Stink Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Stink Series Book Poster Image
This 7-year-old's antics will engage emerging readers.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A bit of advanced vocabulary is introduced in each book, and brief lessons in science, history, and other educational content are central to the stories.

Positive Messages

Lessons about honesty, generosity, body acceptance, and being a good friend are simple but clear and reinforced throughout the books. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The children and adults in Stink's world help him navigate friendships, school, and siblings with gentleness and humor. They encourage talking about problems and working together for solutions to everything from being nervous about a sleepover to hurt feelings among friends. Stink's supportive parents crack jokes just as goofy as his, and his teachers have a generic, relatable kindness to them. Judy teases him and tries to take advantage of her role as big sister, but she also protects and encourages him.

Violence & Scariness

Mild teasing between siblings and at school; issues when a friend is (or feels) excluded; moments of suspense when the children are on adventures; and similarly minor emotional moments.


Name-calling between siblings ("shrimp," "stinkerbell") and insults, such as taunting about fear of the dark and soon.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the Stink series is a spin-off of the Judy Moody series, written in the same light, funny style. Stink, Judy's little brother, feels like he's never going to grow, and Judy constantly reminds him that he's the shortest kid in his second-grade class. The series starts with Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, first published in 2013, and each book follows Stink, often with best friends Webster and Sophie by his side, on an adventure -- from letter writing for free candy to sleepovers to a disastrous weekend with the class pet. When the friends get in trouble, it's resolved quickly, and hurt feelings never last long. There's realistic teasing between siblings, but Stink and Judy always support each other when it counts. The word choices are fun: A bit of advanced vocabulary is repeated throughout each book, and Stink and his friends use a lot of goofy words. Young readers will enjoy the comic strip-style illustrations between chapters.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byJjflipt December 1, 2019

My 8 year old loves these books.

These are my 2nd graders first chapter books. He loves them.
Parent Written byElizabeth R. March 28, 2018

Disappointing (Contains Spoilers)

I expected more of the story to be centered around Stink thinking he was shrinking, and I did not expect the class pet to die in a garbage disposal. Very disapp... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In the STINK series, James "Stink" Moody behaves like the second-grader he is: He's inquisitive, energetic, and impulsive, and he likes to go on adventures with his friends. Whether they're on a sleepover at the aquarium or walking the halls at school, the kids' interactions are realistic: They talk, tease, share fears and hurt feelings, and laugh, usually within the same conversation. He and his sister, Judy, tease each other and argue, but they can be kind and supportive. Cool trivia about animals, science, and history is woven into each book, and throughout the series, Stink finds ways to mention his favorite president, James Madison, the shortest president of the United States.

Is it any good?

This is a great series for kids who are starting to read chapter books. The language in the Stink books is accessible, engaging, and often silly, and the plots are simple. Kids can relate to Stink feeling insecure because he's so short or being scared in a new situation, but they'll laugh at the corny jokes and the fun words. Parents will likely hear the animal and science trivia repeated back to them after their reader finishes the book.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how in the Stink series, Stink finds out that small kindnesses make a difference. A supportive comment from a friend when he's sad or scared helps Stink feel better. What opportunities for small kindnesses do you see in your day?

  • How does the Stink series compare with the Judy Moody series? Which do you like better?

  • Why is a sincere apology for hurting someone's feelings important? How it can mend friendships? Why is it sometimes so hard to say you're sorry?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love humor and family stories

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