'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Review: The Very Hungry Bum

Many of us grew up alongside the gastronomic travails of a very hungry caterpillar, in Eric Carle's ubiquitous picture book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I can still remember sliding my teensy fingers into the holes left by that ravenous little worm as he munched his way through a fricasée of fruit before moving onto lollipops and sausages, watermelon and chocolate cake (I can also remember my youthful envy!).

I can tell you right now, however, that I won't be sticking my adult fingers anywhere near the orifices left behind by this very hungry bum. A parody on the Caterpillar original, this absolutely hilarious book by Australian author/illustrator Claudia Rowe is stand-alone good, but made even funnier by its caterpillar association.

Beginning with a bum on a bed by the light of a halogen lamp, our little naked friend wakes up this Monday and discovers he's hungry. Off he goes, in search for something to eat. As he runs for the bus stop, he eats one pair of underpants.

But he was still hungry.

On Tuesday, on the local courts, he eats another pair of undies and a tennis ball.

But he was still hungry.

On Wednesday, deep down in the briny blue, he sucks in a swimsuit, a snorkel and one very unlucky fish, but . . . you guessed it, he was still hungry. Can our little bum become satisfied? And will he ever become a splendiferous anything? or is he destined for lifelong bumdom?

This book brought tears to my eyes, it was so funny, and the sweet, soft-washed drawings are a delight. Kids will absolutely love the idea of a bum on legs, not to mention the hapless items that end up being eaten. Frightfully 'naughty' in a totally PG way, this is thoroughly entertaining and has enormous crossover appeal.

My only complaint would be that the book is so small, almost booklet is size. How I'd love to see it hard cover and large. The illustrations have also been let down by a lack of levels brightening - they sometimes disappear into the brown paper-coloured pages (which I, incidentally, love). Hopefully Claudia sells out of this print run and another, brighter and larger version is printed, post-haste. Nonetheless, even with these flaws, the book is still sheer pleasure.

The perfect book for anyone with a fondness for Eric Carle's work - and a soon-to-be certain fondness for the work of Claudia Rowe.

You can buy direct from the publisher right here.

Title: The Very Hungry Bum
Author/Illustrator: Claudia Rowe
Publisher: Atlas Jones, $12 RRP
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780646566511
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book, Parody