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The Stupids Die - Harry Allard, James Marshall When Bela came home from school one day in first grade, she said that a boy got in trouble for saying the 's' word. We asked, "Which s-word'?" Stupid! was the reply. Some strange cultural undercurrent made this word into a no-no in primary education in the 1990s and this book was and is still the antidote. When will teachers and parents learn that making a word into a tabu only makes it all the more enticing to use on the sly?

This book is the perfect antidote! But the story is only part of it. It's the way James Marshall adds subtext to the story with the illustrations that makes it interesting reading. The paintings on the walls, the looks on the faces of the dog and cat--all part of an overall mix of complementary and counterpoint illustration.

I've loved this series since I found a used copy of #2 at a library sale in Michigan in the 1990s (the dust jacket and cover illustration were missing, but the hard cover was embossed with a drawing of a chicken labeled 'cow').