Arthur Pong and his Smelly Song by Jose Fernandez
Illustrated by: Jose Fernandez
Published: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 31st July 2013
Length: 28 pages
Genre: Children’s, Lyrical Fiction
Where Did I Get It?: From Amazon (Kindly refunded by the author in return for an honest review on my blog and on Amazon)
Summary (From Amazon): Arthur Pong was just an ordinary boy who after school loved to sing and fart at the same time!
His neighbors cannot stand his awful pong, but will that stop Arthur from singing and farting his pants off?
My Review: I am not usually the best person when it comes to books about farting and suchlike – I generally fail to see the joke, but actually this didn’t bother me at all in the book – in fact I think it was mostly brought across really well.
My main problem was with the text itself. Written in rhyme, Arthur Pong had the potential to be a great book for encouraging young boys to pick up a Kindle and read but sadly it didn’t succeed in that aim for me.
The rhyming structure was not constant through the book and some of the rhymes themselves were either dubious or felt forced. Also, so much attention had been paid into making each page rhyme that the story sometimes got a bit lost in translation as things got swapped around to make the rhyming happen.
The lack of end punctuation didn’t help with understanding either. I had to read the opening poem three times to get it to work in my head:
‘Arthur runs home from school, can hardly hold himself
Into his room, and reaches for the shelf
Ready to start, drops all his things
Welcome Arthur the Maestro ready to sing’
In poetry the end of a visual line doesn’t notate the end of a sentence – even if the next line has a capital letter – so I read the above as one long nonsensical sentence.
That said, once I had adjusted to the writing style I was able to read the story by inserting the punctuation and pauses in myself as I went along. This is fine for an adult but could be difficult for younger members of the intended audience with a weaker grasp of language.
I think with a little tweaking this could be an entertaining read for children who love silly stories about bad smells and rude noises – the hand-drawn illustrations are charming and funny and compliment the story well.
As it is, I think it only really works if read aloud by an adult who has already read it through to familiarise themselves with the text.
I gave Arthur Pong and his Smelly Song 2 out of 5 stars but I think it has the potential for more with a little revision.
EDIT: After reading this review, Jose asked for more specific feedback on my issues and has since revised some of them. With this in mind I have increased my rating from the original two stars, to three.
My Rating: 3/5*