Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: The Big Stink by Lucy Freegard

Review: The Big Stink by Lucy Freegard


Charlie is a mouse with a big love of cheese, and he will go to any lengths to nibble the best. Parmesan, Roquefort, Camembert. Charlie’s stolen them all. Now his aspirations have increased as he sets his sights on The Stinker – a world-famous sculpture held at the Museum Of Cheese. 

Officer Rita is on the trail and she has a cat’s nose for criminals. 

Can Charlie turn his life around and find a way to sustain his cheese-nibbling? 

A laugh-out-loud story where the humour is all in the details. I love this book. As in the very best of heist fiction, the reader is on Charlie’s side. He may be a criminal, there may be no justification for his actions, but his dedication to cheese and daring antics win us around. Oh, and it helps that he is so ridiculously cute. Just look at those ears. I’d forgive him anything.

When he steals The Stinker – a parody of Rodin’s The Thinker – we are left on tenterhooks. Will he nibble it? Will there be a single crumb left?

Cheesy versions of famous artworks and hilarious locations on the detective’s board add humour, but they are background details. The humour is subtle and is also relevant to Charlie’s world. 

The characters are all friendly, round-faced animals who will appeal to readers brought up in the age of emojis. I love the variation in the illustrations between small vignettes and double-page spreads which detail the background. They look almost like little worlds made in cardboard boxes. It would be fun to use this book to inspire art, and to reenact parts of the story in a cardboard hideout or cheese museum. 

A cat and mouse story which will make you smile. This is a big hit and I will be looking out for more work by Lucy Freegard. 


Thanks to Catherine Ward PR and Pavillion Books for my gifted copy of The Big Stink. Opinions my own.

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