To many young children, anything to do with bodily functions often solicits laughter so when I picked up copy of "Poopendous!," by Artie Bennett (Blue Apple Books; $16.99), a book about poop, I knew it would be a hit.
Kids and adults alike can follow along with Professor Poopdeck and his two young friends on a poop safari. You'll learn different words for poop (guano, number two, ca-ca), it's forms and styles and myriad uses (for example, fertilizer, fuel and more).
On Friday, Bennett will be reading "Poopendous!" at Hampton Synagogue (15 Brook Rd., Westhampton Beach) at 10:30 a.m., sponsored by Books & Books in Westhampton Beach. The event is free and open to the public.
Recently, I spoke with Bennett about his first book, "The Butt Book" and "Poopendous!". Here's a what he had to say:
How did you come up with the idea to write first "The Butt Book" and now "Poopendous!?"
"Well, it has a very interesting back story. I was familiar with Dr. Seuss’ anatomical series: "The Ear Book," "The Eye Book," "The Tooth Book." I love these books. One day I had a brainstorm: a butt book would make a great addition to this hallowed series. The Butt Book was a runaway sensation, but now it was time for my second act. I toyed with many ideas for my follow-up, but one day, when the word “poopendous” popped into my head, I knew not only what I would be writing about, but I had a great title to boot.
How have children reacted to your books?
"They’ve reacted with wild, contagious enthusiasm. And their parents have as well. I often have to pause while reading for the laughter to die down. Educators and librarians have also embraced my books. They’ve mentioned how educational they are — and how young readers learn such fascinating information, relayed in a hysterically funny, utterly inoffensive fashion."
Do you hope this book will help with potty training little ones?
"Funny you should ask that. I’ve already had several parents tell me that they were purchasing it as a reward for their child’s efforts with potty training. I have to say that I didn’t initially envisage that, but I find it so gratifying that the book can mark an important milestone in a child’s life."
What is your favorite children's book of all time?
"That’s a tough question. If I had to boil it down to just one book, I think it would have to be "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" by Dr. Seuss. He has had a profound effect upon my life — and the lives of many others. This was Dr. Seuss’s very first children’s book and his genius was already in full flower. I love its rhythm and its unbridled creativity. And Dr. Seuss could draw, something I’ve never mastered.
What's up next for you? Will there be a third installment?
I’m elated to say that there will be .?.?. and, hopefully, many more to follow. Blue Apple Books, the publisher of "Poopendous!," has commissioned another book. I’ll be cleaning up my act. No more butts and poop for me. I’m going straight. My next book will be about .?.?. feet! Feet in all their unfettered glory. So stay tuned.