SOMETHING SMELLS!

A mystery for young readers to sniff out.

When little Elliot awakens one morning, he smells something bad but can’t figure out what it is. He follows his nose around the house, sure he can find the malodorous source, but remains stumped. It’s not something under his bed, nor is it a skunk or something else outside. It’s neither his dad, his little sister, the baby, nor the dog—it’s not even Grandma’s mysterious Gefartzenschnaffer bubbling on the stovetop. Even as he searches, however, Elliot’s mother scolds him for wearing his Halloween costume for yet another day, which may prompt attentive readers to guess that Elliot himself is the mysterious, eponymous something that smells. Sure enough, when Elliot’s mother brings the costume to the wash, Henry illustrates a green stench wafting from it as she holds it out in front of her with just thumb and forefinger. Such details help the illustrations throughout the book match the clever, engaging text’s achievement. They adopt a style reminiscent of Barbara McClintock’s work, with ample crosshatching and deft use of watercolor and gouache. It’s a bit odd that an elder sibling appears in pictures but is never mentioned in text (not even as a possible source of stench), but apart from this misstep, the book is a cohesive whole. The family all presents white.

Smells pretty good. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8864-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are...

1-2-3 PEAS

After an alphabetical, rhyming tour de force (LMNO Peas, 2010), Baker’s energetic pea pack is back—this time, to count by ones and 10s.

Baker sidesteps the trickiness of rhyming the numerals by selecting a repeating word for each short verse. “ONE pea searching—look, look, look, / TWO peas fishing—hook, hook, hook.” Those numerals rise sky-high (to peas, at least) to dominate the digitally composed visuals, often serving as props for the frenzy of vegetative activity. At “TEN peas building—pound, pound, pound,” the peas erect a wooden platform around the numeral—mainly, it would seem, as an excuse for exuberantly hammering dozens of nails. Baker circumvents those oft-pesky ’teens in one deft double-page spread: “Eleven to nineteen—skip, skip, skip!” Then it’s a double-page spread per decade, with peas traveling, napping, watching fireworks and more. “SEVENTY peas singing” provide a bevy of details to spy: A fab foursome (the Peatles) rocks out above a chorus and director. Nearby, a barbershop quartet, a Wagnerian soloist, a showering pea and a dancing “Peayoncé” add to the fun. 

Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are sure to devour Baker’s latest winner. Totally ap-pea-ling! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4551-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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Don’ts and Do’s in a familiar formula go down easily for fans and will provide a good conversation starter for parents.

HOW DO DINOSAURS STAY SAFE?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

Officer Buckle had Gloria, his police canine, to help his audience see the value of his safety lessons; Yolen and Teague have their dinos.

Addressing such perennial topics as jumping on the bed, climbing too high and stair safety, Yolen and Teague first present the dinos doing the wrong things, their faces plainly showing that they are surprised and scared by the world of hurt about to come their ways while caring (and dwarfed) loved ones freak out in the backgrounds. “Does he climb up too high? // Or jump on his bed? // Does he race on his bike with no helmet on head?” (Scansion is a bit of an issue.) Of course not! And though the text says that it will tell readers why, it doesn’t, instead just explaining what the dinos do to stay safe. Among other things, Cearadactylus holds Mama’s hand and crosses with the light, Majungasaurus swims where his papa can see him, Agustinia wears his bike helmet, and Concavenator brings water to drink on long hikes. As in previous outings, Teague’s artwork steals the show, the realism of the scenes and human figures juxtaposed with the giant, though childish, dinos. Labels in the illustrations and endpapers will help dino mavens identify their favorites.

Don’ts and Do’s in a familiar formula go down easily for fans and will provide a good conversation starter for parents. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-439-24104-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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