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Tedd Arnold. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2040-4

In this humorously askew look at the body, belly-button lint leads a five-year-old boy to believe he's falling apart. ""I stared at it, amazed, and wondered,/ What's this all about?/ But then I understood. It was/ My stuffing coming out!"" Each discovery increases the narrator's anxiety. Strands of hair in a comb arouse thoughts of premature baldness; ""a chunk of something gray and wet,"" fallen from a nostril, is identified as ""a little piece of brain."" (Attempting to find answers, the young hypochondriac pores over a stack of books on gray matter, including a ""Book of Marbles"" for those losing theirs.) The boy's parents insist that nose goo and flaky skin are normal, but their solemn reassurance is met with a gross punch line: ""Then tell me, what's this yellow stuff I got out of my ear?"" Whimsical cartoons, in warm watercolor hues and texturized with squiggles of colored pencil that resemble the boy's decreasing hairs, show the narrator in the foreground and his worst fantasies in the background. The subject matter, despite its potential to be disgusting, is treated as funny but commonplace. Trying to make sense of one's ""parts"" is a common childhood concern, and Arnold's (No More Water in the Tub!) comical hyperbole will set children at ease about fears they might hesitate to share. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)