|Calkins Creek, October, 2020|
"Smelly" Kelly and His Super Senses: How James Kelly's Nose Saved the New York City Subway takes place a bit later when the subway system has become the transit hub for the city, its lifeline, but always expanding and under construction.
Anderson is back with another profile of a New Yorker whose story is not widely known, but deserves to be. Delightfully illustrated by Jenn Harney, this telling reveals a hero in the underworld-- the underground world of subway operation, that is. His super-sniffer detects and locates potential mishaps that could endanger the system, and LIVES! Within the opening pages, readers learn that young-James was aware of but not impressed by his super-sensitive nose-power. In a single page-turn adult-Kelly lands in New York City. He soon begins work in the subway and his talent proves to be priceless. His sniffer not only averted catastrophes from gas leaks and water drips coming in contact with electrical sparks, he tracked down burst plumbing pipes and other odors to reveal unseen damage.
Kelly took his nickname and unofficial hero status seriously, reading deeply to learn more about ways science and technology could support his role of super-subway-saver. This complex story is told with pizzazz, making the revelations about a grown man and urban infrastructure remarkably lively and appealing. The color choices, text placement, lighting and movement in illustrations make this an action-packed and fun read.
|Interior illustration, "Smelly" Kelly and His Super Senses|
Beth Anderson/Jenn Harney
Anderson participated in In an interview about this new release on Maria Marshall's blog, THE PICTURE BOOK BUILDER, here. Her website and that interview include a quote worthy of note:
~ Beth Anderson
As a reader and writer I admire this mission statement and appreciate the results in her books. Her research is seamlessly woven into lives that leap from the page in settings that have a life of their own. It was my privilege to read an early copy in PDF file, with no promise of a review. Publisher Calkins Creek is a reliable producer of high-quality picture books and I look forward to having physical copies in hand and to give as gifts.
This is not available for distribution until October, but I am posting my review now because you can place advance orders, from an independent bookstore, please. Those early orders can help books and publishers and stores survive, and you won't be charged until the books are ready to go out, in most cases. Find your nearest stores here. You can also request your local library to order it. If you enjoy nonfiction (nearly biographic) picture books, this one is a must-have.
It is oddly comforting that many recommended titles about anti-racism for adult readingare delayed in delivery because they are sold out and require reprinting. Library copies are on long holds, too. Please be patient, and read deeply when you can.
Then, let it sink in and ACT.
A helpful comparison for those STILL feeling a gut response to BLACK LIVES MATTER with "All Lives Matter":
When annual events support BREAST CANCER, is your gut response-
"But ALL Cancer matters"?
If not, why is it so hard for you to accept that all lives DO NOT matter when we are living in a society that treats BLACK LIVES and other People of Color with less value and security, or with outright contempt? If ALL Lives Matter had been true for those who are NOT White, in the present and in history, this conversation wouldn't be necessary.
Covid19 response continues to vary on a national and world scale. Many states "opened up" while providing little guidance, support, or enforcement of wearing masks, keeping physical distance, and staying home when possible. In those cases, extreme upsurges in positive test results, active cases, hospitalizations, and shortages of ICU beds and other resources are cause for concern.
This morning our country (USA) continues to "lead the world" in confirmed cases and deaths. Individual states are outpacing entire countries. Shamefully.