Sometimes schoolwork might not look like schoolwork. Take Stinky
Stevens, for example. He is the main figure in a new comic
book series by the same name. How could it possibly fit into
a school day? Writer and illustrator Ron Wheeler has taken a
language that many children (especially elementary-age boys)
are innately fluent in--comics--and has used it as a tool to
teach character, humor, and faith.
Stinky and his gang of friends, including his sister Natalie,
Trixie the doll, Superbear, Raggedy, Horsey, and Mr. Bunn, find
themselves in all sorts of adventures with the cartoonist,
the one with the power of the pencil and eraser. It's like a story
within a story and is very appealing to kids.
These books could be used in a number of ways. First, they are
a different genre than is usually found in school, and that in
itself makes it interesting. Plus, they can show students how to
use humor in their everyday writing assignments. The underlying
moral and faith issues that are presented offer another application;
they can be tied in to Bible and/or character study. Finally, they
can be offered as a fun reward for a job well done.
On his website, www.CartoonWorks.com, Ron Wheeler shares his testimony
about his early and empty success, straying from his morality,
and how God turned his life around. Now he uses his talents to
glorify God. What an inspiration for my kids and me! The rest of
the website offers fun for kids, including Cartoon Camp, games
and puzzles, and products other than the Stinky Stevens series.
Pros: I heard my son's voice all the way through the
books as I read Stinky's dialogue. It was his humor completely.
I am excited that there are safe comic books about things other
than superheroes that will appeal to my boys. The fact that they
will actually learn real life lessons makes the books even better!
Cons: There is definitely some odor- or body function-type
humor that would not appeal to all readers or parents (although
the "gross" warning is clearly labeled at the beginning of the
I laughed right out loud at many of the adventures of Stinky,
and I am not one for comic books of any kind. These books will
be well used and often read in our home.