Josh Funk's The Case of the Stinky Stench Is a Fun Read Aloud for Young Mystery Readers

Updated on June 2, 2017
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Josh Funk Is Back with His Favorite Characters to Solve a Mystery


Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast Are Back With a New Adventure

Josh Funk's characters, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast, are off to solve a new mystery in The Case of the Stinky Stench. What could that awful smell be that is coming from the fridge? They begin their search through the fridge by seeking out the salsa and beans. Next come the onions. None of these are the culprit. Could it be the left-over waffles? How about the corn chowder? They decide that the terrible smell might be coming from the red herring or the casserole. Neither of these turn out to be the culprit. They have almost given up when they find the real culprit.

Both young readers and their parents will see the humor when the true culprit is discovered. The surprise is a food item that everybody loves to hate! Compassion is demonstrated when Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast help the food item to get clean and fresh and become what it is supposed to be. A delicious fresh smell is returned to this food item, and the mystery is solved.

Large, colorful illustrations and large, easy-to-read print make this fun read-aloud mystery a hit for young readers. Josh Funk writes in rhyming language and has fun with wordplay. An addition of a large fold-out illustration of all the food from Food Land is included at the conclusion of the story. The Case of the Stinky Stench was published by Sterling Children's Books, a division of Sterling Company and is recommended for ages 4-8. It has an ISBN of 9781454919605.

Lesson Plan for Providing Added Interest in Reading

Here is a lesson plan that teachers might like to implement after a group reading session for Funk's The Case of the Stinky Stench.

1. Read this fun read aloud in a group reading time.

2. Bring in a few chosen food items that are mentioned in the story. You might like to have the children bring in a chosen food from the story-either their favorite food from the story or their least favorite food from the story.

3. Allow the children to participate in a classification activity to classify each food into the category of Good Smell or Bad Smell.

4. Brainstorm ideas for a writing activity in which children present their thoughts on the culprit food in the story that has the bad smell. You will want to do this activity before you get to the ending when the actual culprit is disclosed. Allow the children to draw their ideas if they are not able to write.

Meet the Author and Illustrator

Josh Funk writes computer codes during the day, but uses his free time to write creative stories and picture books for children. He introduced his characters Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast in 2015 with his first book that was published by Sterling Children's Books. He has also written books that have been published by Viking and Scholastic. Young fans can look forward to an upcoming book that will be published by Sterling Children's Books in 2018. Funk serves on the board of The Writer's Loft in Sherborn, Massachusetts. You may visit his website at You may also follow him on Twitter at @joshfunkbooks.

Brendan Kearney contributed his talents as an illustrator for The Case of the Stinky Stench. He specializes in illustrating picture books . Kearney studied architecture and discovered his love for illustration. He now brings his talent to contributing illustrations for children's books. You may learn more about Kearney by visiting you may follow him on Twitter at @BrendanDraws.

Large Colorful Illustrations from Brendan Kearney

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Which food is the culprit for producing the stinky smell in the fridge?
Which food is the culprit for producing the stinky smell in the fridge?
Which food is the culprit for producing the stinky smell in the fridge?

Mystery Books for Young Readers Promote Development of Critical Reading and Thinking Skills

The Common Core Standards for school curriculum place an emphasis on teaching critical thinking skills for students. Learning these skills with fun read aloud picture books promotes these skills at an early age. Teachers can use The Case of the Stinky Stench to teach a variety of critical thinking skills. The artwork in Kearney's illustrations provides a beginning for learning critical thinking. Brainstorming ideas with children about the food items that might produce odd smells can provide an opportunity for critical reading skills. Children love to explore food items and teachers can provide an opportunity for children to bring in food items to explore, taste, and smell. The food items can be classified and categorized into good smells and bad smells. The critical thinking skills of comparing and contrasting can also be a part a reading lesson with this fun read aloud picture book. Teachers can also introduce the critical skills of predicting when children are given the opportunity provide their own thoughts and prediction of which food is the culprit for the stinky smell in the fridge. The critical thinking skill of cause and effect can also be brought into a lesson after reading this new mystery. Young readers will also enjoy creating their own ideas about how Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast can solve this mystery. Enjoy implementing these ideas to teach critical thinking skills to your young readers.

Large easy to read print helps to create interest in reading.
Large easy to read print helps to create interest in reading.

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills with Fun Read Alouds

How do you teach critical thinking skills to young readers in your classroom?

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