I Need a New Butt

i need a new butt

I Need a New Butt by Dawn McMillan. Illustrated by Ross Kinnaird. Originally published in 2012. 32 Pages. Official summary, from Goodreads:

A young boy suddenly notices a big problem โ€” his butt has a huge crack! So he sets off to find a new one. Will he choose an armor-plated butt? A rocket butt? A robot butt? Find out in this quirky tale of a tail, which features hilarious rhymes and delightful illustrations. Children and parents will love this book โ€” no ifs, ands, or butts about it!

This is as much a rant about low-quality children’s literature as it is a book review.ย  Our local grocery store has a small section with various books available for sale. To their credit, there is as much inspirational reading as there are new and popular novels, children’s books, and reading about health. Recently, I noticed this book and thought how silly it looked, but my husband and I stood there and read it nonetheless.

He, being something of a kid at heart, found the first couple of pages funny in the way he might have when he was a kid. Boys and their bathroom humor! However, as it went on, it was increasingly clear to both of us that this was a terrible book, by almost any objective standard.

By way of disclosure, I can be something of a literary snob when it comes to children’s, fictional and humorous literature. My mind is open when reading nonfiction in a way that it simply is not when reading novels and children’s literature. Fiction should have some redeeming value and a children’s book should do more than making a child chuckle. It should certainly do that, but with some sophistication of thought, and “I need a new butt because mine has a crack!” doesn’t pass muster.

The interesting thing about this book, and its sequel, is how well it was received on Goodreads. It is possible that I overestimated the literary tastes of the Goodreads community!

To make myself clear, I’m not against silliness in children’s literature. I loved reading both Dr. Suess and even Sandra Boynton to my kids when they were very young. It could be that the whole idea of a book resting on the humor of one’s butt crack rubs me the wrong way ๐Ÿ™‚ , but I look at this book and its runaway success as just another example of the coarsening of our culture. Here is the question of the day:

Is there a place for this kind of thing in children’s literature? Or am I overreacting here?

2 out of 5 stars

9 thoughts on “I Need a New Butt

  1. Heidi says:

    I don’t think you’re overreacting at all. I appreciate silliness in children’s books–I quite liked the “____ Love Underpants” series–but it sounds like this was pretty much a one-joke book, and without any other redeeming qualities it’s a shame it was published.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elspeth says:

    Good morning, Heidi.

    It is a one joke book, and even when it tries to offer variations on the joke, it’s badly done. The fact that it sold well enough to warrant a sequel still surprises me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. smkoseki says:

    My mind is open when reading nonfiction in a way that it simply is not when reading novels and childrenโ€™s literature.

    I have nothing to say…except I love this quote and wanted to see it in bold.

    Like

  4. bike bubba says:

    A couple of months back, I saw a book called “Toot” about flatulence for kids and was giggling at it…..and Mrs. Bubba bought it for…us? I got no room to point fingers here, though I’ve got to say that the author of “Toot” definitely had a lighter touch.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bike bubba says:

    Oh my goodness, check this out. Turns out our gracious hostess got the “classic” version before political correctness, if not good taste, changed the title to “I need a new bum”. So she’s pretty much got something in common with Prince, or Duke, or Duke-ito, Archie. Just gander at the time line; the last word got changed.

    https://www.goodreads.com/work/editions/21898347-i-need-a-new-bum

    So apparently it’s OK to “moon” the world repeatedly in a children’s book, but not to use the normal word for that body part.

    Like

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