cover image Smell My Foot! (Chick and Brain #1)

Smell My Foot! (Chick and Brain #1)

Cece Bell. Candlewick, $12.99 (72p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7936-1

The title says it all: this early reader comic by Newbery Honor author Bell features plenty of bonkers humor. Four vignettes pair Chick, a dainty yellow bird, with a clonking human called Brain, who possesses an exposed brain, a pair of heart-printed boxer shorts, and huge feet. Chick wants Brain to be polite: “No, Brain, no. I say Hello, Brain. Then you say Hello, Chick.” Brain does not want to be polite, and he does not mind when Chick indicates he is not very smart. Instead, he says, “Smell my foot!” Weirdly, Brain’s foot smells great. Bell’s ink-and-wash panel artwork zeroes in on the characters’ faces and gestures. In the second tale, Spot the dog appears. He likes chicken and invites Chick for lunch. For lunch? Comic tension mounts as Chick, oblivious to danger, lectures the dog: “You did not say thank you for the salt.” Spot’s eyes narrow. “GRRRR,” he says. “THANK.” “YOU. “FOR.” “THE.” “SALT.” Thank goodness for Brain, whose secret weapon neutralizes Spot. Simple vocabulary packed with tension and humor keeps readers’ interest high. Ages 4–8. [em](Sept.) [/em]