Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express by Megan McDonald

Stink Moody’s fourth adventure begins as he and his friends, Sophie of the Elves and Webster, are building the Great Wall of China out of cereal boxes. They only have one little mishap – a battle with Stink’s super-sticky duck tape. All three of them get stuck together! “Don’t worry,” says Stink, “Friends should stick together.”

But then they notice that the great wall is moving. Quivering. Shaking.

And … squeaking?

The three investigators discover three escaped guinea pigs. They decide to talk to Mrs. Birdwhistle at their favorite pet store, Fur & Fangs. When they arrive they find cages toppled! Escaped animals are everywhere! Puppies squeal, parrots squawk, rabbits race, and guinea pigs squeak from every corner of the room.

“Don’t just stand there,” said Mrs. Birdwhistle, “Help me catch them.”

After the escapees are once again corralled, Mrs. B. explains that the guinea pigs were being used in lab experiments, so she took them in, all 101 of them. Unfortunately, now she needs to find families to adopt them or they’ll be put to sleep, and she has no idea how to make it happen.

Luckily for her, she’s friends with Stink, Webster, and Sophie. They go door to door in the neighborhood. One man says he’d take fifty, but when they recognize him as Sam the Snake Man, they wisely decide against it.

That’s when they get the idea for the Great Guinea Pig Express – Squeals on Wheels! – a converted camper that houses the critters and makes a great traveling advertisement. After finding a few adoptive pet owners in a local parking lot, the Fantastic Fur Friends take a trip to Virginia Beach where a friend of Mrs. B’s has started a guinea pig rescue and has agreed to take twenty of guinea pigs. On their trip they stop at various points of interest (ever see the world’s oldest ham or a giant gorilla named Hugh Mongous?) to find more adoptive homes.

Filled with plenty of goofiness, like Stink’s crawling underwear and a guinea pig that looks like Chewbacca, Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express is another fantastic addition to Megan McDonald’s tales of the Moody Family. Stink and Judy are welcome additions to every middle grade classroom.

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