Saturday, September 5, 2020

Summer Reading 2020 "Smelly Kelly" and his Super Senses

Super heroes can have some amazing powers, but what about everyday people? James Kelly had a sensitive nose and a drive to keep others safe. He used those powers to detect leaks that could have caused explosions and other danger to the New York subway and its passengers and workers. He walked miles every day inspecting the tracks and searching for problems, as well as inventing tools to help in his job and training others to carry on his work.

The illustrations show the underground of New York with all its wires, cables, pipes, storage tanks, and other mysterious objects that those on the surface may never know about. A yellow-green swirl flows across the pages to represent the odors that "Smelly" Kelly encountered. Readers will be able to pick out Kelly in each scene with his signature red hair. Fashions of the early 1900s appear on various figures in the pictures, but most of the attention is on the daringKelly and his underground workplace. 

The author's note mentions that not much is known about Kelly's childhood, but that he served in the British Navy during World War I, then moved to New York after the war. There is also information on the tools he used and on the amount of cables and pipes that run beneath the city.

An intriguing look at an everyday hero and the early days of mass transit. Recommended for those readers who always want a new book about transportation, or those who ask for hero stories.

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