Surprise! Gotcha this time! Right?
I am very happy to introduce you to author Artie Bennett during this edition of Surprise Party. He contacted me a couple of weeks ago to share his book, The Butt Book. As I reflect, surprisingly it wasn't the title of the book that first caught my attention, but Bennett's presentation in the email that intrigued me to respond. He had a unique way with words; fun vocabulary, a few puns, and lots of humor.
My children and I read his book about a dozen times this week. We enjoyed Bennett's "butt"iful rhymes (how about that, after agonizing all week, I finally fit in my own butt joke) and the comical illustrations by Mike Lester. The dozen readings came from six separate reading occasions as I had to read the book twice each time. As Artie points out in the interview below, children and adults both will enjoy The Butt Book as it is was written in good taste with one goal in mind - to make you smile!
Happy Birthday Author: How does it feel to be a published author?
Artie Bennett: It's a great feeling, especially for a bibliophile. It must have taken upward of three years or more from concept to actual book (considerably longer than the gestation period of an elephant!), and there were times when it seemed like I might not ever find a publisher, but when the book finally saw the light of day, I was elated. I remember eagerly tearing open the box that contained my ten complimentary author copies to hold an actual copy in my hands. Now, this isn't my first book. I did write a couple things when I was a much younger man, but The Butt Book is my first "mature" work. And it is my first picture book, which is something of a gold standard in children's publishing. I'm proud as punch about it. - Click Here to Read More -
Happy Birthday Author:
Tell us a little about The Butt Book
and how it developed.Artie Bennett: The Butt Book
has a very interesting backstory. I was familiar with Dr. Seuss's anatomical series. I'm sure you know the Bright and Early Books. There's The Foot Book
, The Ear Book
,The Eye Book
, The Tooth Book
. They're delightful. I love these books. But something was missing. And then I had a brainstorm: a butt book would make a great addition to this hallowed series. Now, because Dr. Seuss, sadly, passed away in 1991, he's no longer around to flesh out the series by writing about butts. And besides, that was a different time and, perhaps he couldn't have written about butts then. Well, times have changed. And somebody had to. I guess it was cheeky of me, but I decided to do it. His publisher passed on it, but the manuscript found its way to Bloomsbury Children's Books
, where they got "behind" it. And I am glad they did.
Happy Birthday Author:
How have children reacted to reading your book?Artie Bennett:
Children - and discerning adults as well - find it irresistible. I'm bowled over by the enthusiasm of their reaction. It's so heartening to feel you've given the gift of laughter to a child. I had a hunch that it might get that kind of response the very first time I read it aloud. One of my listeners was a glum little boy, who apparently rarely smiled or laughed. But this boy transformed. He was gaffawing and capering about with each verse - and as soon as I was finished, he insisted that I read it again. The metamorphosis was nothing short of astonishing. So I recommend a heavy dose of Butt Book
therapy for the child in need of a pick-me-up.Happy Birthday Author:
What would you say to parents that think your book is inappropriate?Artie Bennett:
I'd simply say that it isn't. This is the most wholesome of butt books. And I'd encourage anyone who might think that it's inappropriate to please have a look. Reviewers have uniformly pointed out that the subject, which is a potentially problematic one, is handled tastefully and in good humor. In fact, many reviewers begin their reviews by saying that they opened the book expecting to encounter a degree of grossness but were completely disarmed by its utter absence. Mike Lester's illustrations are so charming, as well as side-splittingly funny, that any fear of inappropriateness is instantly banished. And at my signings, I often see parents delighting in the book even more than their children.