The Stinky Street Stories by Alex Ratt & Jules Faber
Pan Macmillan Australia RRP: $14.99
What is it about kids and all things stinky? I used to think it was a ‘boy thing’, but alas no. With 2 daughters and a son I’m now all too aware that farts, burps, vomit, rotten food, and any other unnamed odour can be HILARIOUS to ANYONE in the right circumstances. Alex Ratt knows this too, and this new set of short stories turns the stink factor up to 11.
Loosely aimed at the 8-12 crowd in terms of reading levels, these stories are equally appealing to younger (eg. my 5 year old) and older (eg. my husband) readers. Brian (‘call me Brain – everyone else does’) and his best mate Nerf notice a curious smell near their home in Stinky Street (the clue is in the name). Can they find the source of the odour and neutralise it, saving everyone in the town from the rotten reeks? Cue madcap, slapstick, gross-out scenarios sure to keep your youngsters ROFL.
Haven’t heard of Alex Ratt? That’s because ‘Alex’ is the pen name of accomplished children’s picture book creator and novelist Frances Watts. Taking a new direction in your writing is a risk – especially when you’re detouring down a street of awful aromas. I had the pleasure of interviewing ‘Alex’ about the stories behind The Stinky Street Stories….
Behind the stink, with Alex Ratt …
What do you think it is about all things smelly, stinky and gross that kids find so appealing?
“My theory is that because kids are taught by adults to be circumspect about the smelly, stinky and gross, to openly revel in them represents subversion, anarchy, an escape from rules. It is to revel in being a kid. (Besides, who among us is above a bit of a giggle at a funny smell or noise?!)”
Did you find it challenging, as a writer, to work in this ‘gross-out comedy’ genre?
“I found it a lot of fun (worryingly so!) – possibly for the reasons mentioned above: it felt anarchic and quite liberating. But I also enjoyed it because there was so much scope for those aspects of writing that bring me pleasure whatever the genre: playfulness with language, character development, humour and heart.”
Why did you choose to write this book as a collection of short stories, rather than a novel?
“I wanted The Stinky Street Stories to be accessible and approachable for all levels of reader, and short stories offer a little more ‘breathing space’ than a sustained narrative. This sense of approachability has been enhanced by Jules Faber’s terrific illustrations and the thoughtful design. (It takes a village…)”
Most importantly – are there more Stinky Street Stories to come?
“Why, yes there are! 2 Stinky will be published in August, and I can promise stinky sewers, pongy penguins and plenty of smell-odorous language.”
Click here to read a sample chapter of The Stinky Street Stories.
You can buy the The Stinky Street Stories at your local bookstore, or here…