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My four year old daughter is at an age where she is very curious about bodies and finds the mention of certain body bits - you'll know the ones I'm talking about - very funny indeed. I see this as a natural stage in her development and I'm always looking for books that cover such topics in an informative but humorous way. Nicholas Allan is a children's author and illustrator who has become well known for his enlightening and comical books. He certainly covers topics that other children’s authors wouldn’t dare to and is probably most well known for writing 'The Queen's Knickers' and 'Where Willy Went', the latter being a book that explains where babies come from. In total, he has written over 30 children's books.
'Cinderella's Bum' is one book by Nicholas Allan that we hadn't read yet. The slightly cheeky title of this book will immediately appeal to children of all ages, so I wasn't surprised when my daughter immediately chose to borrow this book on her recent visit to the library. The comical illustration on the front cover shows Cinderella with an ample posterior. There is also a picture of a little girl telling us that the book is about 'other bottoms' too. She actually turns out to be the narrator of the story which is quite unusual in a picture book aimed at younger children. However, I think this made the book very appealing and that my child very quickly identified with this young story teller who looks of a similar age to herself.
In this story, a young child is trying to persuade her older sister to come out swimming with her. However, her sister refuses, saying that her bum has grown too big and that her swimsuit no longer fits her. Her younger sister then points out that people come in all shapes and sizes and that 'big bums can be useful'. She then gives examples of several famous fictional and non-fictional characters, some of whom your child will be familiar with. She mentions that Santa needed a big bum to cushion himself if he had crash landings with his sledge and that Buffalo Bill's large behind helped him when he was having a bumpy ride on his horse. Other historical figures such as Houdini and Queen Victoria also crop up in the book which gives scope for further discussion as your child is bound to want to know more about these famous people. My four year old daughter wanted to know why Queen Vctoria's dress was so 'sticky-outy' which led to a discussion about fashion fads in Victorian times. My daughter is already a jeans and t-shirt sort of girl so she immediately declared such dresses to be 'silly' and I was inclined to agree with her.
Despite the title, Cinderella herself has no bigger part in this story that any of the other characters. This might be a bit of a disappointment to Disney Princess fans, but my daughter doesn't seem to mind and thoroughly enjoys every bit of this story. The book certainly produces plenty of laughs for the whole family and even my older daughters found it funny when the little girl explains that as Cinderella had a 'big bum' it is just as well that it was her shoe that she lost at the ball and not her knickers.
Other fairytale characters also get a mention and little ones will enjoy seeing these familiar storybook figures popping up in the book. Snow White is one of my daughter's favourite character and she was delighted to see her appearance in the story. Here, the young narrator mentions that things could have been quite tricky if the prince had loved Snow White for her bottom. It then shows a hilarious picture of the Wicked Queen bending over and looking through her legs to get a view of her bottom in the mirror as she says:
"Mirror, mirror, don't be rotten, Say I have the nicest bottom."
Having both teenagers and a pre-schooler, toilet humour seems to be quite prevalent in our household. So I'm not too surprised that the favourite part of the book for my child is the bit that covers the subject of flatulance. "Some bottoms have trumpets in them" while "Posh one's have clarinets" has my daughter joining in with appropriate sound effects, followed by lots of giggles. This really has become her favourite page in the book and we often have to read this page several times before we can move on in the story.
The book is written in a way that will be easily understandable to a young child with the text being nice and simple and just two or three sentences in each page. The illustrations are extremely funny and convey the humorous nature of the story perfectly.
This book is both delightful and funny and it is very touching to see the little girl trying to convince her older teenage sister that she is perfect the way she is and that she should be proud of her body including her bottom. But, typical of girls of this age, she refuses to believe it. The book ends on a humorous note with the little girl revealing that her big sister didn't need to worry anyway, as the swimsuit she had been trying to squeeze into all this time actually belongs to her and not her big sister.
This has become a family favourite for us and even my teenagers - who don't think they are too old to join in now again at story time - really enjoy this story. All in all, this is a fabulously funny picture book with an important message: size doesn't matter so learn to love yourself the way you are!
This book can be purchased from Amazon for about £4.00 including delivery. I thoroughly recommend this book for all young children, but think it will especially appeal to children aged 3-7.
Thank you for reading my review. It also appears on dooyoo under username maggieleung.
Pictures of Cinderella's Bum - Nicholas Allan
Cinderella's Bum - Nicholas Allan
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