Something Smells by Blake Liliane Hellman

Somthing Smells by Blake Liliane Hellman
Somthing Smells by Blake Liliane Hellman

today’s children storybook summary is

Something Smells

By Blake Liliane Hellman

Illustrated by Steven Henry

The takeaway: When something doesn’t feel right we are always quick to blame others. Instead, we should take a hard look at ourselves because often time we are the ones causing the problem. And, sometimes, just by changing a little detail we make it right again.


Elliot is a happy little boy, maybe about four or five years old, with messy red hair, a skeleton pajama, and a room littered with toys and other (less appealing) items. One morning, as he woke up, he noticed that there was a terrible smell … somewhere, coming from … something.

Puzzled and upset, he looked under the bed. But except a dirty sock, a tissue and some other small thing, it was perfectly clean, he decided. He looked out the window thinking it must be a skunk but outside smelled fresh.

Elliot got out of his room, determined to solve the mystery. First, he checked the pets: the hamster and the parrot, to no success. It wasn’t the banana peel or the old snack, either. Next, he stopped by the bathroom, where dad was shaving. Dad actually smelled nice.

Breakfast time came and Elliot had to sit at the table with his family, while his mother was scolding him to give up on his pajama which he had worn for too long. But he didn’t pay any attention, busy to chase the bad smell. He checked his sister and the baby, but they were fine. So were the cat food and even the trash. There was just one stone unturned: grandma “gefartzenschnaffel” she was cooking on the stove. But when he went by and sniffed it, the thing (he didn’t know what it was) was ok.

Elliot was still searching the house for the bad smell when his mother came and took him for a bath. And while she was taking his pajama to the laundry machine, everybody in the family were turning their heads away. The smell was unbearable. The boy, busy playing in the bathtub with his toy shark, didn’t even noticed that the bad smell was gone. When he got out, his mom put him in a clean pajama with a sea monster print on it. And Elliot thought that this was the best pajama ever.

Characters: Elliot, a 4 or 5 year old boy, with red hair and a skeleton pajama, his mother, pets, other family members


With his light colors and a firm brush, the Steven Henry creates a cheerful universe where a happy family leaves in a clean, fresh neighborhood.  His illustration is rich in details that enhance the text and give us clues about the storyline. The characters, though distinct in choices of presentation, share some familiar features (maybe because they are a family!), that are friendly and content. As a technique, Steven Henry uses pencil sketches that he later runs them through a digital program. Overall a nicely put together book.

Theme: favorite pajama

Recommended Age: 4 to 7 years old

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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