While wisely rated G for Gross ("Contains immature material not suitable for adults"), Andy Griffiths' very funny debut novel will almost certainly blow away--perhaps literally, stinkingly--anyone of any age who's ever suspected that their backside might be up to something.
Translated from the Australian (sold Down Under as "The Day My Bum Went Psycho"), this adventure begins with the nighttime flight of our 12-year-old protagonist Zach's pale little heinie and doesn't let up for over 200 pages--most of which are filled almost exclusively with the word "butt." At first, Zach believes his butt might be leading some sort of minor butt rebellion, but the plot quickly thickens to include a global army of feral butts, the "greatest buttcano in the history of the world," and a head-butt "rearrangement" conspiracy that goes all the way to the... um, bottom. Our well-meaning but naive hero Zach soon gets mixed up with the butt-fighting "B-team" (the Kicker, the Kisser, and the Smacker, who all "love the smell of freshly smacked butt in the morning!"), fires his very first 4502-LL ("The LL stood for Laxative Launcher"), learns how to "butt-hop" ("The average butt has enough gas to propel itself and a rider for twenty minutes...."), and goes on a long, wild chase involving cluster butts, buttcatchers, kamikaze butts, stinkants, and even the fearsome Stenchgantor, "the Great Unwiped Butt." (And that's not even counting all those seagoing butt piranhas and poopoises.)
Griffiths surely likes the cheap laughs and doesn't miss a single opportunity for buttly wordplay (from "high-frequency emissions" to the smell-ranking "Rectum scale"), but that doesn't make The Day My Butt Went Psycho any less clever--the fast-moving plot has as many double-crosses as double entendres, and Griffiths weaves in some pretty brilliant ideas. Who knew you could have a death throe scene between a butt and its owner? Also includes a snarky butt glossary in the book's... uh, rear. (Ages 9 to 12) --Paul Hughes
Griffith's fun gross-out adventure novel follows Zack Freeman, who awakens to see his rear end leaping out the window to lead a bum rally. Zack's butt urges bums to "assume our rightful positions on top of the neck." Zack searches for the "one person who can stop [the plan]," the Bum Hunter, and in the process meets up with legendary bum fighters like the Kisser and the Smacker-plus the Bum Hunter's tough daughter, Eleanor. As the team tries to stop the bums from erupting a disgusting bumcano (hint: it's not filled with lava), they encounter a stink tornado, swimming poopoises, the Stenchgantor, "also known as the Great Unwiped Butt"-and a traitor in their midst. Though Zack finally tells his bum, "Well, maybe if I'd taken better care of you... you might not have gone psycho in the first place," kids will gleefully discover there's no great lesson learned here. Some of Griffith's details are hilarious (a fluffy pink toilet seat cover is the perfect tool for trapping bums, who "are powerless to resist them"), others plain disgusting (Zack and Eleanor hitch a ride on an exploding bum pimple), but young readers will likely get a kick out of it all (there's even a glossary included). Ages 9-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
---Publishers Weekly, March 31st, 2003