The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales



A farcical re-working of 10 familiar fairy tales.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some characters engage in sarcasm and name-calling. Jack plugs his ears and refuses to listen to Little Red Hen's pleas for help.


Mild and of the cartoony kind.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's no real story here, just pure silly entertainment. The gags are fun, and the artwork is wacky. A good giggle for kids and adults alike.

What's the story?

What's going on? The Gingerbread Man is now the Stinky Cheese Man and no one wants to chase him. Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin star in the same story. The Ugly Duckling grows up and turns into a really ugly duck. A funny, farcical re-working of ten familiar fairy tales where even the typeface joins in on the mayhem.

Is it any good?


A wild, irreverent, and extremely funny book -- for the right audience. Don't let the fairy-tale spin fool you; younger children may be confused about the strange twists to these well-known tales and by the offbeat illustrations. But for grades two to six, this book is like recess in the middle of a spelling test. These children will love the unusual layout, and the way the book pokes fun at classic stories and characters. The author and illustrator intentionally draw attention to book design with: a title page titled "The Title Page;" an upside-down dedication page; and an introduction that includes a Surgeon General's warning. Intermediate to advanced readers will get a kick out of the challenging dialogue and varying shapes and sizes of typeface.

As a read-aloud, it's fun for the whole family. When read to a group of kids and adults aged 5 to 35, the reaction was all giggles. The entire group -- particularly the older ones -- had fun recalling the original fairy tale and comparing it to the new version.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how these wacky reinterpretations stack up against the original stories. Which do you like better? Why?

Book details

Author:Jon Scieszka
Illustrator:Lane Smith
Genre:Fairy Tale
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1992
Number of pages:56
Award:Caldecott Medal and Honors

This review of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old April 23, 2010

i love this book

funny i laughed a whole bunch
Kid, 10 years old February 14, 2011


My new fave book!
Teen, 13 years old Written bysusieboo July 14, 2011

Great book!

This book is hilarious! I love Jack and all the other characters.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide