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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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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