________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 41. . . .June 20, 2014


The Big Bad Blackout. (Judy Moody & Stink).

Megan McDonald. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.
Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press (Distributed in Canada by Random House Canada), 2014.
130 pp., hardcover, $17.00.
ISBN 978-0-7636-6520-3.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Kate Hachborn.

***½ /4



Stink looked at the ceiling. “Grandma Lou? If you’re sleeping tonight and you happen to hear a loud crash on the roof, don’t be scared. It’s probably not aliens.”

“Or reindeer,” said Judy. “Or a giant bionic squirrel.”

“And it’s probably not Bigfoot,” said Stink. “Just so you know.”

“Or sasquatch. Or the Skunk Ape,” said Judy.

“Good to know,” said Grandma Lou.

“It’s probably just a regular old ghost,” Judy teased.

Whoooo! All of a sudden, the lights went out again. The room turned ink black. The TV fell silent. It felt like the house was under a magic spell. Outside, the wind whooshed like waves pounding the shore. Chimes clanged and rain poured.

The scary dark sent chills up Judy’s spine.

“Ooh, blackout!” cried Stink. “A big bad blackout!”


Judy Moody and Stink are awoken in the night by a loud thump on their roof. Though Stink is sure that aliens have invaded, Judy thinks that ghosts may be responsible for the creepy sounds that they keep hearing in the dark. Judy and Stink consult mom and dad who explain that a hurricane is approaching. The severe storm takes out the power, shuts down school and results in road closures, but Grandma Lou makes it to the Moody’s house before the storm gets too bad, with three unusual pets in tow. Grandma Lou’s presence and the need to gather around the fireplace for heat and light lead to a day of games and stories for the whole Moody family.

internal art     The Big Bad Blackout, the third book pairing Judy and Stink together, describes a scary situation that is marginalized by descriptions of family time and the power of imagination. Rather than focusing on the raging storm and lack of power, Judy and Stink (with help from Grandma Lou) embrace the lack of structured entertainment and enjoy the “free time” that they now have available. Each family member tells a story of another storm, either from memory (in the case of Grandma Lou, Mom and Dad) or from their imagination (in the case of Judy and Stink). The stories within the story provide most of the action in the plot but will keep readers entertained as each character takes a turn.

      Full-colour illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds add to the charm of the book, expressing in pictures some of the more imaginative parts of the story. A glow-in-the-dark cover will entice readers, though children familiar with the series will need no further motivation to check out this next installment of humorous fun. A list of boredom busters is included in the back of the book in case readers should ever find themselves stuck in a big bad blackout.

      Megan McDonald has written numerous titles involving Judy Moody and Stink, all illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

Highly Recommended.

Kate Hachborn is a library technician at the W. Ross Macdonald School in Brantford, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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