As part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, I’d like to present:
I’m attracted to messy, silly, rhyming picture books for several reasons:
- They give kids a sense of the rhythm of language and help them predict the word at the end of a line.
- They entertain.
- They appeal to one’s sense of the absurd, especially the illustrations.
- Kids will want to read the book again and again and again….
“Bill the dog loved smelly things,
Like muddy ponds and rubbish bins.
Disgusting stuff he’d stick his snout in,
Sniff and snort and roll about in.”
Don’t you just love ol’ Bill, already?
And, if you are as astute as my son, you noticed that the author used the term “rubbish bin,” instead of “garbage can.” Yes, the author is British.
But back to ol’ Bill. He’ s one stinky character, until Great Aunt Bleach comes to visit (and clean the house).
“When every knife and fork was polished,
Every dirty mark abolished,
Great Aunt Bleach said, “What’s that smell?”
And that is when she spotted Bill.
Bleach twittered, “Come on, doggie-woo,
It’s bathie-wathie time for you!”
Now, for those of you who write in rhyme, I’m sure you noticed that the author plays a little fast and loose with “things” and “bins” as well as “smell” and “Bill,” but it didn’t trip me up as I was reading. And, for the most part, the meter is spot on.
So, for all the dog lovers (and rhyming picture book lovers) in the world who’ve ever tried to wrangle their pups into a bath,
this book’s for you. If you want to know what happens to Great Aunt Bleach, well, Smelly Bill exacts his own particular style of revenge.
There’s also a sequel titled “Smelly Bill Stinks Again.” I’m sure he ran off right after the first book and rolled in some sweet skunk roadkill.
Better get the soaking tub ready….
Title: Smelly Bill
Author/Illustrator: Daniel Postgate
Publisher/Pub date: Albert Whitman 2005