Mr. Blewitt's Nose

Alastair Taylor, Author . Houghton $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-618-42353-8

Taylor (Swollobog ) serves up an absurd but only moderately funny story of a lost-and-found nose. Primrose Pumpkin, a girl with a pleasant floral name, discovers the nasal appendage while walking her "outrageously smelly dog, Dirk." No one is nearby, having whiffed the girl's stinky pooch, but the nose is "perched on the end of a park bench, as if someone had removed it for a moment and then forgotten and gone off without it." Primrose asks around for the owner, but Dirk—described in ascending adverbs as "alarmingly," "sensationally" and "eye-wateringly smelly"—keeps everyone at a distance. (The nose has no personality and lacks sentience until it's attached to a face.) Acting on shouted tips, Primrose and Dirk arrive at a stadium where all the soccer fans, except the noseless Mr. Blewitt, leap from their seats and run away. Taylor's acrylic paintings, saturated with lavender-blue, ochre, warm red and putty, recall Joe Cepeda's layered illustrations; the dense tomato-soup orange of Primrose's ponytails and the stadium seats become a bit overbearing, much like Dirk's odor. Yet the wry nose jokes, foregrounded by the title, never gather steam beyond allusions to Primrose's "helpful nature" and her apathy regarding Dirk's hygiene. (While she's kind to return one proboscis, she would benefit a whole community of noses by bathing her dog.) Seekers of olfactory wit might sniff out Viviane Schwarz's The Adventures of a Nose , illus. by Joel Stewart, instead. Ages 4-8. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 978-0-618-58111-5
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