Thursday, 30 January 2014

Revisiting "The Great Dog Bottom Swap" by Peter Bently and Mei Matsuoka (Andersen Children's Books)

The Great Dog Bottom Swap

Written by Peter Bently

Illustrated by Mei Matsuoka

Published by Andersen Children's Books

When we originally reviewed this cheeky and irreverent little book back in 2011, We couldn't quite believe a book like this could exist. It popped up in the library stacks again last week and we couldn't resist another peek - if anything, to make sure we hadn't imagined the whole thing.

As you can possibly glean from the title, "The Great Dog Bottom Swap" contains words and elements that immediately catch children of a certain age's attention. Dogs. Check! Bottoms. Check! Swapping. Check! But no, it surely can't mean what it says can it?

It's the night of the most fabulous doggy event of the year (or should that be rear? Oh you bet we're going to be wheeling out the bum puns for this one!) Dogs from far and wide gather at the theatre for an evening of variety and entertainment. Dogs are rather polite when in their own company (no leaving huge brown marks on your brand new cream carpet, or licking their - OK we'll stop there) - and all good dogs know that before one partakes of an evening of theatre, one must check one's O-Ring in at the doggy cloakroom.

"So, are those their bums? Their actual bums? That's disgusting!" - Charlotte.

I said in the original review that this book was entirely responsible for putting me off Cheerios for a very long time (in fact I don't think I've eaten them since). You'll see why as Mei Matsuoka's fab illustrations curl themselves lovingly around Peter Bently's cheeky story.

Once the dogs have deposited their derrieres, they're ready for the show. But things take a disastrous turn. A mishap sees the theatre catch fire, and soon it's every dog for themselves as they struggle to leave the theatre. But what about their butts? In the mad dash and panic, dogs grab the nearest one and make a run for it.

There is a purpose to this story, and I won't ruin the pay-off, it's very funny and explains a lot about doggy behaviour. We still love it, it's immensely funny, cheeky and I'm still leaving that well known breakfast cereal well alone on the basis of this book, in fact I don't think I'll even be able to look at hula hoops or ring doughnuts in the same way either. Ew!

Charlotte's best bit: Getting over the whole 'bum' thing by falling in love with a rather natty dalmatian.

Daddy's Favourite bit: I love the cheekiness of this, Peter Bently has a knack for ticking our funny bones!