“Eyes and ears are much respected, but the butt has been neglected.”
So says opening line of Artie Bennett’s astounding tour de force, “The Butt Book” — and, dare I say it, no truer words have been spoken in the children’s book world since a younger Mo Willems issued his cautionary warning against allowing a pigeon to drive a bus.
Bennett’s new work is a singular tribute to every parent’s least-favorite body part, the behind. No doubt, there are parents who will worry that Bennett’s endless repetition of the word “butt” in all its myriad forms — tuchas, fanny, bottom, heinie, rear — will encourage the youngsters to scream out “butt cheeks!” at inappropriate moments. But that fear is just poppycock!
Indeed, didn’t the ramblings of the wayward youth Bart Simpson once send the Puritans of public morals running to set up a bonfire into which to toss the “Eat my shorts”-spouting lad?
In actuality, “The Butt Book” will actually help remove the word’s lingering shock value. For starters, Bennett plays it all for laughs, suggesting that we, not our keisters, are the ones with the butt problem because we are the ones who have “neglected” the butt.
Instead of celebrating the butt, we hide it, condemning it to a life of shame. But there is no shame in Bennett’s mind.
“Butts can come in every size,” he writes. “Some will droop and others rise.”
And by putting the butt in its proper context in the animal kingdom, Bennett reminds us all that having a butt is as natural as, well, using it.
“Elephants have mighty ones, while hippos have untidy ones,” he writes. “Butts are vital body parts, important as our heads or hearts.”
There’s just no avoiding it: We all have one.
“Best in show or just plain mutt,” reads the page featuring a circle of canine behinds, “every doggy has a butt.”
Coupled with Mike Lester’s fun drawings, Bennett’s repetition of the various uses, shapes, tasks and accomplishments of the butt never get dull for the kids (of course not; Mommy or Daddy keeps saying, “Butt” whenever reading the book).
And as Bennett points out, we need to honor the butt — or else.
“Don’t undercut your butt, my friend,” he writes. “Your butt will thank you in … the end.”