The Great Dog Bottom Swap, by Peter Bently and Mei Matsuoka (illustrator)

Okay, one more post today because 1. I haven’t updated Well Read in a shameful amount of time, 2. I absolutely adore this book, 3. I haven’t done nearly enough posts that focus on anything but YA fiction, and finally 4. I’m trying to avoid doing laundry.  I may be Well Read, but I am certainly not Well Pressed.

The Great Dog Bottom Swap came to my attention thanks to another colleague of mine, Julian, who demanded that I stop what I was doing and read the entire thing on the shop floor.  Looking back I think he was daring me not to laugh, but laugh I did and I know you will too.   The basic premise is an explanation of why dogs greet each other by sniffing each other’s bums…a question that I know has kept many a parent and child alike awake long into the night.   It all goes back to a fabulous party where the dogs who attended were asked to remove their bums and leave them in something like a cloakroom.  The illustrations are top notch and the rhyming quality of the story will make it a good one for early readers…though I wouldn’t discount it as a favourite for parents alike to read aloud…if you can stop laughing long enough to read, that is.

This is a fantastic find in picture books that is destined to become a classic.  We gave it to my niece recently for her birthday and while she (at age two) was more fascinated with the birthday cake shaped hat that played “Happy Birthday” that accompanied the book, the adults at the birthday party read it aloud and laughed until they cried.

I’d Really Like to Eat a Child, by Sylviane Donnio, Dorothée de Monfreid (Illustrator)

Back when I was still working in the children’s section at Waterstone’s, I would often pause in the NEVER ENDING struggle that is keeping the picture books in some semblance of order to quickly read through one that caught my eye.  This one not only caught my eye and held it, but also prompted me to read it aloud in the store because it made me laugh THAT MUCH.

The message in the book is obvious:  listen to your parents because they really do know best in some situations.  The baby crocodile wants to eat a child, but doesn’t want to eat his own breakfast even though his parents plead that it will help him grow up big and strong.  He stalks the child and finally pounces, at which time the child laughs at the tiny croc and pitches him back in the water.  Result?  Tiny croc starts on a pile of bananas in order to grow up big and strong.

Disturbing?  Possibly, if you’re of the ilk that can’t see past the humor in the subject matter and plot.  Hilarious?  Definitely.  Going on my pre-planned shelf for the day I have my own kids?  You betcha.