Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Friday, June 4, 2010

"The End is Rear"

Chicken Cheeks by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

There is a bear who sees something in a tree, but he needs something or someone to help him to reach whatever it is that he sees. He starts getting animals to help him by standing on each others shoulders. The only text on the page though is the name of the animal and its backside, "moose caboose, rhinoceros rump, hound dog heinie" and so on. In the end they are all reaching for some honey but beware of the "bumble bee bum."

I read this book and didn't realize that the author was Michael Ian Black, for those of you who don't know he is a stand up comedian and actor. I told this to my husband and all of a sudden he is a bit interested in this blog post. Then I found the video below, of Michael reading his book and now I can't write the blog post because we are watching the video. At first I thought the book to be too simple and too silly, it is really just a list of backsides. After watching the video with my husband and seeing him double over with laughter I think I was thinking about this book too much as a teacher and not enjoying the humor in a good butt rhyme. I think three to six year-olds will giggle with glee at all the silly names for each of the rear ends. In addition to the silliness of the writing the expressions the animals make as they try to climb on top of one another are very funny too. I would avoid this book at bedtime though as you might inspire a fit of giggles that will make sleeping an impossibility.

Now there is always some debate in the publishing community over books that go for the "potty humor", are these books good for children? Should we be encouraging kids to laugh at butts? I am curious to know what you think, is it ok to read books that have a bit of the potty humor in them?


  1. Coming from a teacher,I see why I wouldn't like it and I might be considered "potty humor" but as your friend,I would have to say that I was just like Dan and literally laughing out loud at Michael Ian Black reading this,I guess it depends on if the class is slightly older maybe older 4's,some 5's,I'd be afraid of how impressionable it would be with 3 year olds though.


  2. Sally,
    Good point, for the slightly older kids it would be very funny. I agree let the 4 and 5 year-olds laugh away.

  3. Well,I mean at least then,they'd GET some of the jokes,a 3 year old would be like "huh? I don't get it". It's my issue with my Grandma Rose right now, I'm more worried about my almost five year old niece since she'll be more impressionable than my almost 3 year old niece, she'll only sort of get it,actually, do you know about my Grandma Rose and what's going on?


  4. Sally,
    I think some five year-olds still do not "get" a lot of the things we think they do. With that said I am always amazed at what kids do understand. I don't know what is happening with your Grandmother but I will email you so we can talk more.