“Little Stinker,” by Stephen Sanzo, illustrated by Mark Mullaney, Cranky Pants Publishing, $16.95.
Stephen Sanzo’s preceding book was “Cranky Pants,” which gives us a hint of the kind of tale this one will be.
Anyone who has been through the trials of having a younger sibling will identify with the big brother. If a little sister visits the school with Mom, big brother insists that she not speak to him.
The stinker loves her big brother and assumes he reciprocates her affection. But he has grown beyond oatmeal, sticky hands and a runny nose. She causes him much difficulty — even dressing his GI Joe in a pink dress.
The day the family goes shopping, the reader can predict disaster. She is too loud, yelling “Groooooovy!” when pleased with anything. Mom thinks it is cute. Brother does not think it is sweet that she wants to hold his hand. He is horrified when she licks the pavement. So embarrassing.
Brother longs for a new Sting-Ray bike, but they instead buy the Candyland game for them to play together. Oh no, the little stinker has disappeared.
Brother changes from wishing she’d move to Grandma’s to frantically searching for the little stinker. Guess who is the hero when he remembers his little sister’s compulsion for shoes?
Mark Mullaney’s charming illustrations fulfill the proposal that pictures could almost tell the story. Seeing the wild antics of the small girl, the disgusting expressions on the boy’s face and the relief of the shoe department clerk tells the story even to the nonreader.
Mullaney works with many kid-focused clients in the Boston area. Preschoolers and early readers will demand to read “Little Stinker” over and over.