The Museum of Very Bad Smells

The Museum of Very Bad Smells

A review of The Museum of Very Bad Smells by Monica Arnaldo

Published on July 4, 2024

This latest offering from Monica Arnaldo is a whodunnit for olfactory detectives. It is opening day at the Museum of Very Bad Smells, but the prize exhibit, the rotten egg, has been burgled! Everyone is a suspect – the hermit crab, the dung beetle, the disgruntled mouse, and the wet dog – but each seems to have an alibi. Can they find the egg in time for the opening? Thankfully, the hamster is frantically on the case.

The Museum of Very Bad Smells
Monica Arnaldo


Readers can follow the detective’s trail with their eyes and with their noses, thanks to the inclusion of the throwback 1980s gimmick, scratch-and-sniff. I can’t comment on just how bad the smells may be because the print edition was not available at the time of writing, though I admit I wasn’t terribly disappointed about that. Noses beware!

Arnaldo really flexes her illustrator muscles within these vibrant and playful pages. The dog’s tail wags with gusto, while the hamster’s facial expressions belie his oscillating emotions. And let’s just say that when the mystery is solved, no graphic detail is spared! 

Repeat readings might not be quite as much fun once the thief is unmasked. But I have the sneaking suspicion that kids will come back time and again for the giddy humour of it all, and more specifically, for the fart jokes.mRb

Meaghan Thurston is a Montreal-based arts and science writer, co-editor of the anthology With the World to Choose From: Seven Decades of the Beatty Lecture at McGill University, and mother to two budding readers.



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