This book is my youngest sons current favourite. "Bottoms Up" is written by Jeanne Willis who is quickly becoming a favorite in out house with stories such as "That's Not Funny", "Whose in the Loo", and "Zak and Zee", which my son refers to as the buggy's butt story. It seems the author has discovered anything about backsides or waste products is sure to appeal to certain age group.
This story starts with several small children carrying banners protesting nappies and asking "Why won't you let us run around in the nude?" In the next page the children move from nappies to pants, but this is not met with any happiness on the children's part. After all animals don't wear underwear do they? There is page after page of silly suggestions about different creatures in panties, knickers, bloomers etc... And of my sons very favourite part asking if wombats wonder if they must cover their ------. The answer is no of course "that would be silly". The book ends with the children stripping off and proudly displaying many bare bums.
Now from an adult point of view, this book may not seem terribly funny. In fact I'm sure a few people would find it in poor taste. But to a two year old, the idea of all sorts of animals sticking out their underwear clad behinds is hilarious, but children taking their clothes off and mooning everyone is even more funny. My son knows this story by heart, but still can not listen to it without bursting into giggles.
I do think this book is best suited to very young children perhaps ages 18 months to age 3. My oldest still had a wee laugh, but it isn't something he would listen to over and over at age 6. I'm sure he would have loved it a few years ago, back in his mooning stage. The text to this is very short, with a nice rhythm and rhyme to it which I think suits this age group especially well. There is also a picture of a child sitting on a potty which I think is good during the period when children are learning to use the toilet. The illustrations are really cute and very funny, especially to my son. he loves the pictures of the bear and elephant shaking their bums at everyone. Personally, I like the rather indignant look on the bullock wearing breeches.
A word of warning though - there is one illustration some children may find amusing, but which upset my son. It shows a large python wearing boxing shorts slithering along, mouth opened wide behind 5 penguins dressed in various undergarments. At first he thought this was funny, saying "He wants to eat Pingus". Then he noticed the three very penguin shaped lumps in the python and was less pleased that he has apparently already eaten at least three. I tried telling him the penguins got back out because the snakes body is flat in the picture, but he points to a page near the end, with the python and only two penguins and says the snake is bad and ate the rest. Now that said, he does still enjoy the story, but this certainly did annoy him at first.
I have removed one star from my rating for the penguin eating python. Yes I appreciate it looks funny to an adult, but this book is aimed at small children and I didn't think it was necessary. Although my sons still loves this book, it certainly did detract from his enjoyment to some degree, and brought a note of sadness into what should have been just a brilliantly funny book. I won't rate down for poor taste, because we just happen to love poor taste though. Other than the penguins for lunch, this is a really perfect story for toddlers.