You Smell!: And So Does Everything Else
“funny, educational, and downright delectable if you have a nose for science and/or weird trivia.”
A big book about what smells, what causes smells, and lots of trivia related to smells is what you get in You Smell: And So Does Everything Else. A table of contents points the way once the reader deduces that pong is a slang term for smell in Great Britain, where this book originated.
The first section is the biggest and deals with human smells, including body odor, bacteria breath, farts, feet, and acid reflux. “In one month you can fart enough gas to inflate up to 20 party balloons.” What other book will educate a reader on that specific topic?
Colorful drawings of a stinky sock and a bouquet of flowers illustrate how smell works, from the nose to the brain. A yellow trivia box explains that people can detect as many as 10,000 smells. Another double-page spread compares parmesan to puke, dung to dessert, and leeks to (natural gas) leaks. The next page talks about smell as they relate to memories and conditions that interfere with smell. A smell lab box gives ways to experiment at home with different smells and a blindfold.
The first section also interviews the winner of the Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest, won by a girl. The quirk continues with the smell lab suggestion of putting different stinky socks in closed containers and then having friends guess whose is whose. The next spread explains how farts make sounds, and the smell lab suggests keeping a fart diary.
Another kind of box explains occupations related to smell. “Flatologists measure what farts are made of and how often they occur—between 10 and 20 times a day is typical.” “Odor judges work for research and cosmetics companies.”
No smell is taboo in You Smell. The second section is called The Niff of Nature and includes animal aromas, plant pongs (smells), staking a claim, and saved by Smell. “Sea holly doesn’t smell as good as it looks—it stinks of dog or cast poop!”
British English comes up again when discussing the peanut butter plant. “Datura, also known as “devil’s trumpet” and “stinkweed is a tricky one. Its flowers smell quite pleasant, but the rest of the plant pongs of gone-off peanut butter!”
Under Staking a Claim, we learn that rabbits “rub their chins on plants or on the ground to mark their territory.” Lemurs’ wrist glands and shoulder glands produce bad-smelling odors used in fighting. Opossums give “off a putrid stench as if they’re dead and rotting” when sleeping.
The third section is called the putrid past and talks about earwax, the plague, Hippocrates, and the occupation of master farter in China. It also includes people of royalty and their stinky antics. Playing cards of queens, kings, and the joker decorate the page. One double-page spread id dedicated to smells used in fighting (stink bombs, aromatic arrows, and butt bombs).
The fourth section discusses weird and wonderful odors, including synthetic snot, scratch and sniff, robot armpits, and robot dogs. Perfume is discussed in Scent-sational and the Gilroy Garlic festival get a nod on the Planet Pong page. There is a double-page spread of (outer) space smells, plus a stinker quiz and a glossary of whiffy words.
The index is the last thing before the end papers covered with microbes. The book’s color palette includes, green, yellow, pink, purple, blue, and lots of black accents and white space.
The reader needs to bring a sense of humor and a strong stomach to this book. And don’t eat a meal while you read it. You might lose your appetite. Aside from that, You Smell: And So Does Everything Else is far from a stink bomb. It’s funny, educational, and downright delectable if you have a nose for science and/or weird trivia.