HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Inspiration Behind “Super Schnoz and the Gates of Smell”

Inspiration Behind “Super Schnoz and the Gates of Smell”


The Inspiration

SUPER SCHNOZ AND THE GATES OF SMELL is about a boy with a giant-sized nose who becomes the unlikely hero when a criminal organization plots to destroy his school. The story is a perfect storm of my love of super hero comics and the fact that I was born into a family of big noses. Our family reunion is like a proboscis convention. The Golden Septum Award goes to the family member with the largest nostrils. It’s a rhinoplasty surgeon’s dream!

We blame our maternal grandfather for this nosestrocity. The man had the biggest honker ever! His pie-sniffer was so huge it affected the tides. You could use his snout as an umbrella during a rainstorm (watch out for the hail-sized boogers.)

I grew up in a house without books. As the young son of single mother who worked hard hours in a factory, she had no energy at the end of a long day to read or encourage her child to read. My only reading pleasure came from the stacks of super hero comics neatly lined up in my room. When I wasn’t engrossed in the latest Fantastic Four adventure, I parked myself in front of the TV and watched hours of Saturday morning and after-school cartoons. Shows like Hong Kong Phooey, Super Friends, Johnny Quest, Bugs Bunny, Land of the Lost, the Flintstones, and dozens of others.

To say that I was a reluctant reader is an understatement. I would have nothing to do with a book if it wasn’t about a super hero crushing an evil villain using full-body elasticity, super strength, or mind control. Slimy aliens intent on taking over the world were a big plus, too. And it had to have lots of violent, full-color illustrations of innocent victims impaled on street signs.

I was well past high school before I discovered my love for real books and writing. But a childhood and adolescence of reading nothing but comic books and watching cartoons had hard-wired my brain. Hence, my debut book SUPER SCHNOZ AND THE GATES OF SMELL. Reviewers have asked me if I originally planned it as a cartoon series. The hilarious illustrations from Daytime Emmy-award nominee and Geisel Award winner, Ethan long, sniff of one. My answer is no, but it’s easy to see why they make that connection. My reading and writing education came from the quick blasts of goofy, visual entertainment of comics and cartoons.

SUPER SCHNOZ AND THE GATES OF SMELL is pure entertainment from start to finish, much like a comic book or a cartoon. My goal of the book is to engage that reluctant reader who would rather be surfing on the internet or watching TV to sit down and have a blast with a book. Hopefully, that will encourage that same kid to branch out into other books, making him or her a reader for a lifetime!

Book Overview

Super Schnoz CoverSuper Schnoz and the Gates of Smell (Book 1)

Gary Urey

Illustrated by Ethan Long

HC 9780807575550 $14.99

September 2013

Ages: 8–12, Grades: 3–6

Plot Summary

Andy Whiffler is your average eleven-year-old boy…except that his nose is so big he can use it to fly and his sense of smell is a hundred thousand times stronger than any human’s. In the first book of this hilarious new series, Andy moves to a new school and is instantly picked on because of the size of his nose. But when his classmates discover just how powerful his nose is, they decide he is more of a comic book hero than a nerd. One day Andy’s school is shut down due to toxic gasses. Andy discovers that it’s all a secret plot for an evil corporation called the ECU (Environmental Clean Up) to take over the world. Andy and his friends decide that this is a job for Super Schnoz, Andy’s alter ego. The ragtag group of kids team up to take on the ECU to ensure school gets back in session (Or summer vacation will be ruined!)


“The writing, stylistically, has enough action and danger to keep it on the right side of parody, as well as a sense of humor that deftly mixes the absurd with gross-out jokes and clever wordplay. Super Schnoz smells like a winner, especially for reluctant readers.”—STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

About Gary Urey

Gary Urey is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and spent several years as an actor, script reader, and theater reviewer. He lives in Portland, Maine, and is a Youth Market Director for the American Heart Association.


About Ethan Long

Ethan Long is the author-illustrator of over 60 children’s books including Up, Tall and High!, winner of the 2013 Geisel Award. He currently lives with his wife, Heather, and his three children in Orlando, Florida.


Add this book to your collection:  Super Schnoz and the Gates of Smell: Book 1

e-Book version: www.openroadmedia.com

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