“Smelly” Kelly and His Super Senses: How James Kelly’s Nose Saved the New York City Subway By Beth Anderson Illustrated By Jenn Harney

Back of Book:
James Kelly smelled EVERYTHING: rats in the shed; circus elephants a mile away; tomorrow’s rain. His sense of smell was EXTRAORDINARY. But what good was a powerful nose? How could his super-sniffer make him special? In the New York City subway, James found his calling–and earned the nickname “Smelly” Kelly. Armed with his super-sniffer and the tools he invented, he tracked down leaks from the dangerous to the disgusting, from the comical to the bizarre. Then, he sprang into action to prevent cave-ins and explosions in the tunnels beneath the city. Smelly Kelly not only hunted leaks but also saved lives–and he discovered the truly extraordinary power inside him.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Calkins Creek in exchange for an honest review.
“Smelly” Kelly and his Super Senses: How James Kelly’s Nose Saved the New York Subway” by Beth Anderson is a fascinating nonfiction story about one of New York’s unknown heroes who was able to sniff out trouble…literally.
James Kelly was an ordinary man with an extraordinary smelling ability. But what good was having an extraordinary nose? Kelly would have rather had amazing strength or speed instead. However, when he got a job working on the New York subway system, Kelly realized how he could be a different type of hero. He used his nose to follow the distinct smells of broken pipes and used his ears to listen for rhythmic drips, alerting subway crews of problems before they could become dangerous. Kelly created tools to help him detect leaks and trained others to recognize the signs of a problem. The story concludes with an incredible act that demonstrated the true bravery inside the man with an extraordinary nose. James Kelly was a real-life example of an ordinary man who used the gifts of his incredible nose and incredible bravery to help people in extraordinary ways.
Beth Anderson has a gift for bringing historical events to life in a way that readers can truly connect with and learn from. The illustrations by Jenn Harney beautifully capture the world of New York City and the engineering marvel of its subway system. She used a variety of dark and light contrasts along with brilliant splashes of vibrant color to bring the story to life. The back of the book has more in-depth information about the life and work of James Kelly, which readers will surely want to pursue after reading this book. This story is a true gem and should be a part of all classroom and home libraries.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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