Billy Brown and the Belly Button Beastie

Billy Brown and the Belly Button Beastie

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by Baird Hoffmire, Sherry Norfolk, Bobby Norfolk

Every night when Billy Brown's mother puts him to bed, she tells him to keep his covers on his bed but he ignores her advice, then the belly button monster steals his belly button and the fun begins.


Every night when Billy Brown's mother puts him to bed, she tells him to keep his covers on his bed but he ignores her advice, then the belly button monster steals his belly button and the fun begins.

Editorial Reviews

Linda Spitzer
Inspired by a Japanese Folktale, Bobby and Sherry Norfolk have created not only a very cute readable but also very tellable folktale with illustrations that just pop. Billy Brown’s name is even fun to say and the story reverberates with the creative energy that both Bobby and Sherry evoke in their own storytelling styles. There are sound effects. There are funny illustrations. The Belly Button Beastie’s chant is a storyteller’s delight as he snatches Billy Brown’s belly button. Billy Brown’s best friends try to help figure it out and I can just see the authors, both of whom I know, animatedly telling all the things that were stuffed into the belly button hole to plug it up. Wait until you read the book to see what finally worked to plug up the hole. I give this one a 10 out of 10. Good to have in any library, grandparent’s house, baby gift, day care center and storyteller’s library.
Suite101.Com - Elizabeth Yetter
The Belly Button Beastie has stolen Billy Brown’s perfectly round, brown belly button. Brown and the Belly Button Beastie by Bobby and Sherry Norfolk is a silly story about a little boy who doesn’t listen to his mom when she warns him to keep the covers up while he sleeps. Written for young children, ages 4 to 5, the Norfolk’s have created a hilariously brilliant bedtime story that will delight children and their parents. The Story Night after night, Billy Brown lies in bed and, after a twist and a turn, kicks the covers off his bed. His mother warns him about catching a cold if he doesn’t keep the covers up, but Billy Brown still twists and turns and kicks off the covers. Finally, his mother warns him that, if he doesn’t keep the covers on at night, the Belly Button Beastie will come along and steal his belly button. Ha! Billy Brown is nearly certain that his mom is telling a tall tale. That night he twists and turns and kicks off the covers. Fast asleep, Billy Brown never hears the Belly Button Beastie come into his room. He never feels the Belly Button Beastie steal his belly button right off his perfectly brown belly. The next morning Billy Brown gets out of bed and goes to the kitchen. He pours himself a glass of milk and begins to drink it. All of a sudden he feels something cold and wet leak out of his belly. The milk is pouring right out of his belly button hole! Billy Brown doesn’t know what to do. He can’t tell his mom about his missing belly button because he doesn’t want to admit that she was right. Billy Brown dresses and goes to school. He shows his friends his missing belly button and they try to help him close the belly button hole. They use tape, bubblegum, and even worms to stop up the belly button hole, but nothing stays. Finally, one of Billy Brown’s friends hands him a piece of chocolate. It matches Billy Brown’s skin color and looks almost exactly like Billy Brown’s perfect belly button, but it smells a whole lot better. Suddenly, Billy Brown has an idea. He is going to trick the Belly Button Beastie into giving him back his real belly button. Fun Bedtime Story Available in May 2008, Billy Brown and the Belly Button Beastie is one of those books that your child will want you to read over and over again. The giggles and yucks throughout the entire belly button hunt are memories in the making.
"Book Bit" for WTBF-AM/FM, Troy, AL - Doc Kirby
Every night Billy’s mom tried to cover up his belly button, and every night he resists…until the Belly Button Beastie steals it! Now Billy must trick the BBB into returning his belly button.
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Japanese folklore regard those most intriguing belly buttons as an invitation to be stolen by one of their folk culture's little beasties. In this telling, there is not any explicit reference to the Japanese tradition; instead the focus is on any-child's fantasies about a belly button monster. Children who are still struggling with the movement from fantasy to reality might be uneasy with the idea that belly buttons can be interchanged with chocolate drops; however, the story does give the Doctor Denton's clad hero, Billy Brown, a proactive role in facing down fears and threats. Baird Hoffmire's illustrations move the story clearly into the realm of fantasy; his belly button beastie is a snot green refuge from a cartoon, and the hero, Billy Brown, is clearly in charge. In the end, this offering from August House is likely to do what good folklore does—help a child deal with their imaginative theories about such mysterious realities of our bodies as belly buttons. To help classrooms deal with the social-emotional issues, the website offers lesson plans. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1- Every night, Billy tosses and turns in bed and kicks off the covers. His mama warns him that "the Belly Button Beastie is going to come and take your belly button right...out...of your...BELLY." Although the child is not afraid, young readers/listeners may find this prospect alarming. Furthermore, when the Beastie does appear, it is indeed quite beastly, portrayed in garish green and blue with a gaping mouth. The next morning, Billy drinks milk and the liquid gushes out of the hole in his abdomen. In the bathtub, soapy water pours in and soap bubbles float out. School friends plug the hole with bubblegum, string, tape, etc., but nothing works until someone suggests trying chocolate (the same brown color as Billy). That night, he tricks the monster into trading his belly button for the good-smelling chocolate substitute. After the boy searches through the Beastie's bag full of belly buttons to find his own, the switch is made. From then on, the creature pursues candy instead of belly buttons. The simple cartoon illustrations include several images that are disturbing and somewhat bizarre. Judy Sierra's Tasty Baby Belly Buttons (Knopf, 1999) and Olga Loya's "The Belly Button Monster," from More Ready-to-Tell Tales from Around the World (August House, 2000), are better versions of this story.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

Product Details

August House Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.02(w) x 11.61(h) x 0.34(d)
AD720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Bobby Norfolk Bio:From Kindergarten to the Tenth Grade, Bobby Norfolk stuttered. He was so self-conscious about his impediment that he retreated into books. Luckily, he had some master teachers in the St. Louis Public Schools who saw a potential in him that he had yet to see in himself. They put him in drama class, glee club - even a talent show judged by country music legend, Mel Tillis. Fortunately, when Bobby performed, he discovered that he didn’t stutter!
In books, young Norfolk found his troubles fused with those of heroes whose epic struggles captured his imagination. Eventually, the stutter disappeared. As a young adult, Bobby Norfolk became an actor and stand-up comedian. He became an opening act for the likes of B.B. King and Lou Rawls. Norfolk's day job as a National Park Service ranger at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri also gave him experience relating to a variety of audiences.
Bobby Norfolk is one of the most sought-after African-American storytellers in the country. He and his wife, Sherry, have authored five classic Anansi tales that are included in the Story Cove picture book series. When they aren’t traveling or performing at schools and festivals, they live in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sherry Norfolk Bio:
Sherry Norfolk embodies the term "teaching artist" - that is, an artist who not only talks the talk, she also walks the walk. She invites readers of all ages to peer through the kaleidoscope of story into the world of the imagination.
Her library background led her to writing and performing stories as an effective means of motivating children to read, and her elementary education background influenced her style - full of rhythm and motion, and multiple voices. As a teacher, she leads residencies and workshops internationally, introducing children and adults to story making and storytelling. She serves on the roster of seven state arts councils, a testimony to her value as a teaching artist. Her dedication to and deep interest in children and literacy have been recognized with national awards from the American Library Association, the Association for Library Association for Children, the National Association of Counties, and the Florida Library Association.
Sherry has a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Masters in Library Science. She retells folktales from around the world, using these stories to teach universal values, elevate understanding, appreciate other cultures, and promote environmental awareness.

Baird Hoffmire Bio:
Baird Hoffmire is an animator, illustrator, graphic designer and exhibiting artist. He resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his beautiful wife, Jane and his equally lovely daughters, Sadie and Harper. With a BFA in Illustration from Western Carolina University and a BFA in Media Arts and Animation from the Art Institute of Atlanta, Baird has been working as a professional artist for over ten years. His illustrations in Story Cove picture books and animated stories have been enjoyed by tens of thousands of children around the world. Besides painting, illustrating books and spending time with his family, Baird loves to play basketball.

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Billy Brown and the Belly Button Beastie 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My son's preschool teacher read this to the class. My son was HORRIFIED! The teacher had to call me at work to explain the situation. He wouldn't take a nap and didn't go to bed until 11:30 that night. This is not appropriate for a 4 year old 'which is the 'target' age group'. Might as well tell the kids that they will be sucked down the bathtub drain while you are at it.