Dave Hartley (text) and Peter Baldwin (illustrator) TC and the Stinkiest Story Ever (in the History of the Universe) #1, Scholastic Australia, February 2019, 112 pp., (pbk), RRP $12.99 ISBN 9781742991870
The first in a new series for middle-primary aged kids, TC and the Stinkiest Story Ever is a mystery/adventure with humour. When Mrs Mucci, the local pizza champion, loses her dog, TC and his best mate Lockie take on the case.
Author Dave Hartley hails from the Barunggam mob and has made his titular character indigenous with a network of family and friends who help with TC and Lockie’s misadventures. Elements of indigenous culture and stories are woven into the story without being didactic. For instance, when TC and Lockie are chased by bullies they hide in a series of tunnels which TC explains are ‘special to my people’. They were once used by the local indigenous people to hide their children when white authorities were attempting to take them away.
The best part about this new series is that it remains light and funny, while giving insights into indigenous culture. TC and Lockie force themselves to smell Polpetta’s poo and then other random dog poo in a bid to find a match.
Peter Baldwin’s black-and-white illustrations in cartoon-style add to the fun.
Reviewed by Heather Gallagher