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Boy Who Lost His Bellybutton

Boy Who Lost His Bellybutton

5.0 1
by Jeanne Willis, Tony Ross (Illustrator)

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One day a little boy loses his bellybutton, so he sets off into the jungle to find it. On the way he meets lots of animals, who each have their own bellybuttons. But it seems that somebody has stolen the little boy’s, and they may not be so eager to give it back!


One day a little boy loses his bellybutton, so he sets off into the jungle to find it. On the way he meets lots of animals, who each have their own bellybuttons. But it seems that somebody has stolen the little boy’s, and they may not be so eager to give it back!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When a tousled hair boy wakes up to discover that his belly button has gone missing, drastic measures are called for: he goes to the jungle to look for it. He questions one mammal after another--a radiantly orange lion, a dark, smoky elephant--only to find out that, in the words of the lion, each animal already has "a perfectly good one of [its] own." The parade of creatures shows off navels huge and teeny, striped and muddy. The crocodile, however, acts suspicious; a close inspection reveals that he's the culprit. The spread in which the boy tentatively wades naked into the swamp to retrieve his navel has a cinematic-like tension. Though the last page close-up shows that the boy's belly button has been returned to its rightful place, the ending comes abruptly. Still, this tale from a British team features a theme that endlessly fascinates youngsters, while implicitly explaining that all mammals have belly buttons, and Ross's luxuriant crayon and pastel landscape manages to evoke both the heat and exoticness of the setting. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Colorful pastel illustrations fill the pages of this charming story about a little boy who loses his belly button. After discovering his missing body part, the young boy travels to the jungle to find out where his navel has gone. Along the way, he encounters various animals--a giraffe, gorilla, lion, elephant, mouse, warthog, zebra and hippopotamus--all of whom have their own belly buttons. It's not until he meets a silly crocodile with a small, round, pink spot in the middle of his scaly belly that the boy realizes his search may be over. When the reptile invites him in the water to retrieve the belly button, the young boy walks in hesitatingly, but soon emerges with a clean navel in the middle of his tummy. Young children will want to read this adorable book again and again. It's a great bedtime story! 2000, Dorling Kindersley Publishing Inc., Ages 4 to 8, $14.95. Reviewer: Debra Briatico—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-The search for his missing belly button takes a boy on an unlikely adventure through the jungle. Along the way, he meets a giraffe, a gorilla, a lion, an elephant, a mouse, a warthog, and other animals that proudly show off their navels. The boy finally spies his own missing part on the "scaly, reptilian tummy" of a crocodile. When asked for an explanation, the croc replies, "I'm washing the fluff out for you." When the rightful owner asks for it back, he is challenged to "Come and get it." The boy then bravely walks into the swamp and grabs it. While children may not understand the humor of a soft, pink belly button on a scaly reptile, they will enjoy the story. Ross's expressive, double-page pastel drawings contribute to the humor and emotion of the child's adventure. The rich colors capture the setting, and the wary looks on the characters' faces, particularly when the boy ventures into the swamp, convey the building tension. Another whimsical offering from Willis.-Carolyn Janssen, Rockford Public Library, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
This quiet, engaging fantasy, illustrated in humorous, expressive color pencil falls flat at its sudden ending. A young boy is missing his belly button and asks all the animals about its whereabouts. Droll language emphasizes the silliness of the situation. Huge jungle animals fill the double-page spreads as the pajama-clad boy begins his journey with the giraffe. "I've lost my belly button. Do you know where it is?" "Search me," says the giraffe. But the giraffe has had his since the day he was born. The Gorilla has one, too, "My mother gave it to me." The boy parts the fur on a lion's belly with a large green comb and politely asks, " ‘I was wondering if you borrowed my bellybutton?' ‘Why would I? I've got a perfectly good one of my own,' said the lion. ‘See?' " Animal after animal reports the existence of its own belly button: the zebra's is striped, the hippopotamus's muddy. Finally the journey concludes with a secretive crocodile sporting "something small and pink and round" and the brave, naked little boy courageously wades into the dark, forbidding swamp to retrieve his body part. Turning to the last page: "he grabbed it!" and the illustration is a close-up of the round bare tummy, belly button firmly in place. The conclusion, though in the tradition of the "gotcha!" story, is too abrupt and somewhat out of context with the charming absurdity and leisurely pace of the rest of the text. It will take a good storyteller to make it work, but it might be worth the effort. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Andersen Press, Limited
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross are the Smarties Book Prize–winning team that created Dozy Mare, Grill Pan Eddy, Misery Moo, Really Rude Rhino, and Tadpole's Promise.

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Boy Who Lost His Bellybutton 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 2 1/2 year old son is fascinated with his own belly button, so a search for a lost one tickled him greatly. The artwork has a humerous quality with wonderful facial expressions. It has a quick, surprise ending which, I have read, bothers some adult readers, but read with enthusiasm it makes my son laugh and laugh!