ANIMALS BRAG ABOUT THEIR BOTTOMS
Written and Illustrated by Maki Saito
Translated by Brian Bergstrom
Greystone Kids —September 2020
32 Pages Age 3—7
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Nonfiction
Themes: Animals, Self-Awareness, Confidence
All bottoms are wonderful! Don’t you agree? Each animal in this adorable book has a different reason for loving their behind—from cute and round to fashionable and striped. Maki Saito makes readers laugh out loud with playful illustrations of the backsides of hippos, zebras, pandas, mandrills, and more. Her traditional Japanese art techniques add a sophisticated, beautiful feel. Charming and whimsical, this book encourages self-love and body positivity, as well as a whole lot of laughter and fun. (from publisher)
“My bottom is such a round bottom—and so cute, don’t you think? I have a round bottom too. So round—and so-o-o big!”
Why I like Animals Brag About Their Bottoms
Twenty animals, ranging from the familiar deer, sheep, and polar bear to the rarely seen Malayan tapir, mandrill, and okapi all show-off their bottoms to readers interested in knowing what they’re like. The animals are proud of their behinds, often calling it cute, stylish, and simply amazing. Animals don’t really compare their bottom to other animals, which may be different or the same in shape or color. They take their body form in stride, with lots of self-awareness, and without any self-consciousness. The animals’ positive image of their own physique is something young children can learn to admire and emulate. That is pretty much what Animals Brag About Their Bottoms is all about.
The simplicity of the illustrations and text will intrigue children young and old, both of which can come away with an understanding of wild animals’ bottoms and their pride. The youngest children may become curious and want to compare their own behind to other children’s’ behinds, but that might not be the wisest use of Animals Brag About Their Bottoms.
The animals contain a certain amount of self-awareness as to how their bottoms are seen by themselves and others. Some have questions, like the Japanese macaque and the mandrill who wonder if their face copied their bottom or the bottom copied the face. Both are quite colorful in shades of red and blue. The giraffe, much too big to fit onto the spread, shows some uncertainty when it wonders what others think of its bottom patterned like the rest of its body.
What is the point of Animals Brag About Their Bottoms? A good question, which never arose in the book. Young children love animals and they love oddities. A book of animal butts is definitely odd and should be especially loved by boys—not necessarily for a learning experience. The lightly textured illustrations and scant text add a fun, often humorous slant to a book about self-awareness, body positivity, and confidence in what we look like.
I found the title intriguing, though unsure what to expect. Besides comparing one animal rear-end to another, the dialogue is from the animals, and they take great pride in their appearance from the bottom to the top. Maybe that is what should be taken away from Animals Brag About Their Bottoms—being happy with our body and all its different shapes. Becoming self-aware of yourself and taking pride in what we have rather than disappointment in what we think we should have but do not.
Animals Brag About Their Bottoms is author/illustrator Maki Saito’s first children’s book in the English language.
Illustrations Rendered in paper collage, stenciled paintings, and dyed paper.
To Learn More About the Author/Illustrator Maki Saito: if you know where Ms. Saito can be found, please let me know
Available at Amazon: Animals Brag About Their Bottoms
ANIMALS BRAG ABOUT THEIR BOTTOMS. Copyright © 2020 by Maki Saito. Published by Greystone Kids, Vancouver/Berkeley.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[415—word count-review only]
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