Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

I Stink!

McMullan, Kate (Author)
McMullan, Jim (Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2006. 32 pages
First published: 2002
ISBN: 9780064438360 (paperback)
9780060298487 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

Award

Boston Globe-Horn Honor Book – 2002

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This is a first-person story told by a garbage truck. Dynamic, poetic language conveys its daily disposal ritual: “Eat your TRASH,/that’s what./ . . . Crew?/Get me to the curb!/ Lights?/BLINK!/Brakes?/S Q U E A L!” Vehicle aficionados will appreciate the inclusion of parts and terms, such as dual op, hopper and crusher blade. All young readers will enjoy the visual type variation: “those bags are WAY COMPACTED.”

The story includes an alphabet of items in the truck’s belly, emphasizing the purpose of trash collection. Thick black outlines in dry-brush techniques create fun, icky illustrations of “Smelly sneakers” and “Year-old yams.” “Zipped-up ziti with zucchini” shows a zip-lock bag of pasta, swimming in a swamp of green. The truck character is rendered in a personified way: his cab peeks back around his hull as he reverses his load to the waiting barge. Colours move from deep, vibrant pre-dawn shadows and streetlights to the clearer hues of day: “You’re waking up now, but I need some Zzzzzzzzzzzzz’s.”

This book can encourage discussion about our waste and recycling processes, while its expressive phrasing and rhythms offer a rich example of what language can do—on any topic.

  •  

    Download an image of a garbage truck. Label the different parts. Refer to the book to find the words for the various mechanisms.

  •  

    Create an anchor chart with the following headings: Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives. On each page, find words that belong in the three categories.

  •  

    Talk about your community and municipal services. How often does your trash get picked up? Are there recycling or composting services available? Why is it important to recycle?

  •  

    Learn about landfills. Why is it important to reduce the amount of garbage being thrown away? Create a Garbage vs. Recycling T-chart. Cut out images from magazines and place the items under the appropriate headings. Which list is longer? What can you do to help the environment?

  •  

    Use the trash alphabet in the book to discuss trash, composting, recycling, reusing, reducing and upcycling. Create a graphic organizer or poster to explain the differences.

  •  In the story, the garbage truck dumps the trash on a platform on the river. Discuss and research the environmental issues of such a practice. Fill out a KWL chart to record your findings. 
  •  This story is told from the lift bucket’s/tail gate’s point of view. Retell the story from the garbage bag’s or the driver’s point of view. 
  •  

    Find out about the different kinds of trucks in a city. Make an anchor chart to post in the classroom.

  •  

    Why do garbage collectors work at night? Who else works the night shift? How would you feel if you had to go to school on the night shift? Write about it.

  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology