Book Review: Stinkbird Has a Superpower by Jill Esbaum

Posted July 10, 2023 by meezcarrie in Book Review, children, Jill Esbaum, picture book / 0 Comments

Bob Shea

GENRE: Children’s Picture Book / Educational
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2023

A hilarious and factual introduction to the Amazonian hoatzin—or stinkbird—and its surprising, incredible superpower. (Spoiler alert: it’s more than just the stink!)

Stinkbirds have a lot in common with other birds: they have feathers, wings, and a beak. But they also have . . . a hidden superpower! This proud stinkbird papa would love to tell you more about it—if his adorable chick would quit interrupting him!

Is it their stinky, poopy smell?

What about their loud and beautiful song?

Is it the fact that they can swim?
Not that either, but you’re getting closer.

Just what is it that makes stinkbird chicks so special? You’ll have to read the book to find out!


With a title like Stinkbird Has a Superpower, I obviously had to grab a copy and read it. To be honest, when I first saw it, I didn’t realize the stinkbird is a real bird – otherwise known as the hoatzin which lives in the Amazon rainforest. I thought it was more of a cartoon character name, but I was wrong and that new knowledge made the book all the more appealing to me.

I’m firmly in the camp that believes a children’s book should be one that both adults and kids can enjoy, and Stinkbird Has a Superpower definitely fits the bill! I chuckled at the back and forth between the father bird and his baby – the little chick was seriously adorable in both appearance and interaction. I learned a lot of interesting facts, and I loved the bright colors and vivid illustrations. And I think my nephews will be delighted to learn more about the stinkbird on the pages of this fun book, too (because what little boy wouldn’t want to learn about a stinky creature? lol). The format of the conversation between the father and chick allows similar engagement on the part of the adult/child reader pairing, and I foresee copious giggles from my nephews on a couple of pages.

Bottom Line: Colorful illustrations, intriguing science, a surprising superpower (that isn’t what you think it’s going to be) and of course a stinkbird – Stinkbird Has a Superpower by Jill Esbaum and Bob Shea has all the ingredients for a fun and educational picture book, and the result is delightful in every way! Children and adults alike will love this book, and they’ll learn a lot at the same time. A great book for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and anyone who has littles in their lives to add to their library.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / love it!

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Jill Esbaum has written many books for children, including How to Grow a Dinosaur, Frankenbunny, and If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party. Several of her books have been nominated for state awards, and I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! won SCBWI’s Crystal Kite award. She also enjoys writing kooky beginning reader stories like Thunder and Cluck, as well as a variety of nonfiction books for National Geographic. Learn more at, and follow Jill on Twitter @JEsbaum.

Bob Shea is an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books including the popular Ballet Cat series, The Dinosaur VS… series, and the runaway smash hit, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great. He is an Eisner Award Nominee and has worked with Comedy Central, PBS Kids, Playhouse Disney, Nick Jr., Google, and other clients. Learn more at

What about you? What makes you want to read Stinkbird Has a Superpower by Jill Esbaum (illustrated by Bob Shea) with a little learner in your life?

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