A lost-and–found-again doll brings together the members of a family.
Devany takes several spreads to set up Smelly Baby’s back story. She is one of the white redhead’s 17 dolls, all with similarly interesting monikers and many of color, but she is the titular lovey and also white. She’s the only one to sleep on Lucy’s bed, and she goes everywhere with the preschooler. And although her name came from her original peppermint smell, it’s now fitting for an altogether different reason, especially after Grandma Nell’s dog, Stasher, gets hold of her, which is why, on the car trip home, she gets lost while being held out the window to “air,” her still-stinky arm the only part Lucy is left holding. Despite her preteen attitude, big sister Ivy is very helpful in trying to help Lucy come to terms with her doll’s loss. But then, all too soon it seems, based on the lengthy lead-up, Smelly Baby arrives in the mail along with a letter containing a sentence that may save other lost dolls: “How smart of you to write your name and address on her tummy!” She’s also freshly laundered. Lucy and Smelly Baby do their best to rectify that. Denise’s vignette and full-page illustrations portray the magical relationship between a young girl and her lovey, and the facial expressions, especially Ivy’s, are spot-on.
There is no child who won’t empathize with Lucy and cheer for her reunion with Smelly Baby.(Picture book. 4-7)