Something Smells!

Blake Liliane Hellman, illus. by Steven Henry. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8864-8
What is that smell? Elliot can’t figure it out. He literally looks high and low in his house, ruling out his father (having just shaved, “Dad smelled pretty nice”), his diapered baby sister, various pets, Grandma’s weird stew, and the garbage. But readers know the source of the odor, thanks to a remark from his mother a few pages in: “Not one more day in that costume, Elliot!” In a classic kid move, Elliot has apparently refused to take off a much-beloved skeleton outfit (“It glowed in the dark and happened to be an EXACT REPLICA OF HIS SKELETON”), and now he and it are, to put it mildly, ripe. In her picture book debut, Hellman keeps the comic tension going by alternating glimpses of Elliot’s inner detective (“Was it the cat food? Nope.”) with questions that nudge the audience (“What, what, what was that terrible smell?!”). But it’s Henry’s (Herbert’s First Halloween) lovingly observed tour of Elliot’s world that will keep readers turning the pages. The boy may still be little enough to have to toe the parental line, but until that happens, he moves with autonomy and confidence, beholden to nothing but his mission. Ages 4–8. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 07/31/2018
Genre: Children's
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