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Worth the Candle
Fenders have been smiling at children from the pages of picture books for decades, but an excellent anthropomorphism of the garbage truck didn't pull up until 2002. When the protagonist of I Stink! brashly listed his attributes (having "ten w i d e tires" and being "totally dual op") and announced his daily willingness to "Eat your trash," it was love at first sight.
Jim McMullan, famous for his Lincoln Center theater posters, draws the hero in colors as loud as a 5 a.m. pick up. Kate McMullan contributes a cocky city-dweller attitude that begs to be read-aloud ("Did I wake you? Too bad!") and a conceit that extends the book's popularity from preschool to second-grade range: The truck eats his version of alphabet soup: There are Apple cores, Banana peels, Candy wrappers, Dirty diapers, and so on - all the way to a plastic bag of Zipped-up ziti with zucchini. No wonder, "No skunk ever stunk THIS BAD."
The only thing the book lacks is an explanation of its punchline title. Or do you think it's just a happy coincidence that the authors chose the answer to that age-old joke: If you put ice into tea and get iced tea, what do you get when you put ice into ink?