It’s been bubbling within me for a couple of years now…the need to express a story about – yes, wait for it…flatulence. Undeniable perennial favourites with kids, stories the make you hoot and toot are not only fun to write but as it turns out, more prevalent than I first thought. There is an intoxicating number of farting picture books blowing about now. Here are a couple of fresh offerings too funny to pass up. I’ve included a couple of non-farting titles too for the more musically, less peristaltically motivated.
Fart slipped out one day, unnoticed and unseen, but super keen to absorb everything about his new home. Trouble is, wherever he wafts, he encounters people reacting badly to some very reprehensible odours. Fart floats on, anxious to get as far away as possible from those dreadful smells, blissfully unaware that it might be him causing those noxious stinks. As Fart wafts around the neighbourhood, he is overjoyed by his surroundings and grateful to be alive. Just one thing would make him happier, a friend. All hope of finding a new best friend is shattered though, just like Fart’s heart, when he realises with a shock that the disgusting, horrible, terrible smell is him. Alone and crestfallen, Fart finally chances upon the friend he’s always wanted, someone who appreciates him for exactly what he is.
I loved this! Blake’s narrative about a little misunderstood, friendless flatulence ebbs and flows with humour and, believe or not, the sweetest language, butt trumpets and air biscuits notwithstanding. I never knew it was possible to feel so much affection for a hitherto frowned upon body emission but Nickel’s swanky retro illustrations and Blake’s comic yet sensitive portrayal of accepting who you are permeate with powerful conviction. This fun story stretches the boundaries and persuades us to look beyond our noses. Pre-schooler and early primary-aged readers will love this. Older readers can take heart in knowing, there is somebody for everybody out there.
Viking Australia Imprint Penguin Random House Australia November 2017
Bottom burps, pop-offs, toots and fluffs. It’s hard to hold them back but that’s exactly what Martha May, the little lady with impeccable manners does, because it would be rude not to. Until one day, after excessing on baked beans, Martha’s tummy gas refuses to fade away. Her belly swells bigger and bigger sending Martha soaring high into the heavens. Eventually she gains permission to ‘let it all out’ and she does so with explosive efficiency. Most kids are far less uptight about their body functions than Martha is, however Hughes and Ife’s animated narrative does offer sound advice for those more sensitive to farting in public, like Martha. It also removes any guilt youngsters may experience about a perfectly natural body function whilst reminding them about the importance of manners. Bunting’s simplistic, parody-pitched illustrations are hilarious and elevate this tale enough to endear it to readers aged three years and above.
Scholastic Australia November 2017
Devised by the Walter Foster Jr creative team, these bouncy little board books are a small departure from the aforementioned chorus of body burps but offer a symphony of sounds sure to entrance and entertain any youngster who can push the speaker symbols embedded throughout the book. Poppy is the central character in both books and is thrilled to attend a concert in the forest and visit the circus where he can experience a veritable orchestra of sounds. Each page includes lively illustrations of various critters playing a gamut of instruments that children can audibly and visually identify thanks to the beautiful sound bites secreted within the illustrations (sixteen in each book). The musical recordings are completely absorbing and delightfully clear and true. Additional recordings add to the fun atmosphere of each story and guarantee a giggle or two from children as young as three years. These books truly allow children to make beautiful music, or at least appreciate it close up. Highly recommended, look out for others in the Poppy sound book series.
Quarto Group USA November 2017