The Boy with Two Belly Buttons, by Stephen Dubner

The Boy with Two Belly Buttons, by Stephen J. Dubner, illustrated by Christoph Niemann (2007, 32 pp, ages 4-8), is, surprise surprise, a picture book about a boy with two belly buttons. Solomon doesn't realize he has an extraordinary tummy until his baby sister arrives on the scene, and she only has one! And his parents, busy coping with the crying baby, aren't able to talk to him much about it. So off he goes on a quest for information-- to the hospital, the swimming pool, and the local college- and only ends up feeling stranger than ever. Then a chance encounter with a famous movie director, who is excited by Solomon's uniqueness, makes him feel that being different is not so bad after all (which ties in nicely with a lot of the YA books I've been reading recently). This is (surprise surprise) the Message of the book, but it's not delivered in too much of an in-your-face way, so any cynical adults reading the book should be able to cope. I was. This is a fine story, with fine illustrations, and my boys enjoyed it. But what they enjoyed most was when we all studied our own belly buttons after reading it...

And what I liked best about this book is that it falls into the valuable category of "books a seven year old who is not an especially skilled reader might enjoy reading out loud to his four year old brother." This, at the moment, is my favorite type of book.

(I got this book as a review copy from HarperCollins).

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