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The Butt Book by Artie Bennett and Illustrated by Mike Lester

PictureBook Challenge Update: 3 out of 72

If you are looking for an uproariously funny picture book that would keep your young ones (particularly boys) in stitches and young girls going ‘eew’ ‘gross’ ‘yuck’ – or in a phrase: engage them in your reading, then this book is for you. While it is not technically part of our GB theme for the month, we do make room (on occasion) for our variegated and diverse forms of reading on the side.

The title alone is enough to elicit quite a few raised eyebrows from conservative aunties – and perhaps a few LOL (or ROFL) moments from the kiddies (I am trying to be IT-savvy here).

Essentially, the book is a tribute to the backside – in all its form, texture, roundedness, squarishness, shades and hues.

As Artie Bennett points out:

Eyes and ears are much respected,

but the butt has been neglected.

We hope to change that here and now.

Would the butt please take a bow?

The naked truth on our date of birth

True enough, each page documents in lyrical text just how integral a part of our lives these forgotten (and largely uncommemorated) tushies are (I particularly like this term since this is what Marie Winsor uses in her Pilates Video, as in “move your tushie, raise your tushie” – and I digress).

The author goes on to explain quite pointedly what the many functions of the butt could be as seen in this illustration here:

Extolling the many virtues and uses of the butt

What makes this book work for me is the word play, the

Even animals' rumps weren't spared

dry wit and irreverent humor, the testing-the-waters and drowning and coming back up again to surface with even greater panache, the awesome and vibrant illustrations, and the audacity in openly celebrating something which is hardly ever talked about (with such humor and style) in children’s lit.

So yes, feel free to “butt in” and celebrate with us the beauty of the backside through Artie Bennett’s hilarious picture butt-book.

The author, Artie Bennett, used to be a gardener’s apprentice in a Galilean kibbutz, was a knishery counterman (hah! I dare you to find out what this means), a telephone solicitor before he found his true (and current) calling – which happens to be an executive copy editor for a children’s book publisher while he writes his own books on the side (“but not the backside” as he so aptly puts it). Is it just me or did his previous odd jobs sound more appealing? If you wish to know more about this man who chewed on Strunk and White’s Elements of Style as a youngster and who is an avid collector of exotic words such as callipygian and pilgarlic among others, please click on this link to visit his website.

Mike Lester, the illustrator of Butt Book is equally as interesting. Born in Atlanta, he has devoted 25 years of his life being a commercial artist, illustrator, cartoonist, animator and writer (wow, that’s a lot). He has gained quite a great deal of recognition for his work from the National Cartoonist’s Society and the 2007 recipient of the Sigma Delta Chi Award for editorial cartoons given by the National Cartoonists Society. If you wish to see more of his off-beat and awesome illustrations, click on this link to be taken to his website.

Our copy of The Butt Book is courtesy of the author Artie Bennett. Thank you for letting us be a part of your picturebook journey.

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One comment on “The Butt Book by Artie Bennett and Illustrated by Mike Lester

  1. [...] his “tribute to the backside” as Myra so lightly (and brilliantly!) put in her review of The Butt Book, Artie Bennett returns with another rib-cracking, jaw-breaking, and wildly entertaining picture [...]

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