The Day My Bum Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths

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The Day My Bum Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: The Day My Bum Went Psycho is a riotous romp through every possible fart joke there is and as such, is irresistible to children everywhere. Scatalogical humour will never lose its appeal, especially to children under twelve. It's very funny, but it really is a one-trick pony. This doesn't matter to the children, but it does matter to the poor parents who are reading the book aloud. A star docked for that.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: July 2002
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 0330400894

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Zack's bum has detached itself again. And before it absconded this time it almost killed Zack's kitten, Mittens, by a ruthless, lethal, sudden gas emission, any bum's particular talent. With no desire to explain things to the local bum-catcher for the fourth time in as many months, Zack pursues his errant bum, even though it is the middle of the night. He follows his bum all the way down to the local football stadium and gets the shock of his life:

There were bums everywhere. Pouring into the stadium from all directions. It was an amazing sight.
Hundreds of them.
Big bums.
Small bums.
Fat bums.
Scrawny bums.
Pimply bums.
Hairy bums.
Big wobbly bums tottering along on tiny white legs.

Feeling rather unnerved Zack finds a hiding place in a hotdog stand and tries to find out what on earth is going on. He doesn't like what he hears. It seems as though the usual nuisance posed by truanting bottoms is taking a much more serious turn; in fact what he's witnessing is the beginning of a full scale bum rebellion. And Zack's bum is its leader. The bums are planning to fill an extinct volcano on an island in the Sea of Bums. When full, this bumcano will erupt all over mankind, knocking them out, and leaving them helpless to prevent "rearranging". Bums will take the place of heads, heads will take the place of bums, and there will be a new world order. Zack is horrified and guilt-ridden. His bum's gone psycho and he simply can't allow it to bring its fiendish plan to fruition. There's only one thing for it. Armed only with the local bum-catchers utility belt (holding clothes pegs, toilet paper, tennis racquet, net, fluffy pink toilet seat cover, corks, and soap) and a pair of bum-catching smelly socks, Zack sets off to find the greatest bum-fighter in the world, Silas Sterne, and to foil the evil bum plot. Things start badly for him though, before he even makes contact with a single member of the bum-fighting brotherhood he is attacked by local feral bums, stirred up by the glorious bum revolution:

Zack knew his tennis racquet would be no use against that many bums. There must have been at least fifty of them spread out across the sky and heading in at him from every direction. He didn't know a lot about bum-fighting, but he knew enough to know what this meant... it was a cluster bum.

Cluster bum. Ha. Oh deary deary me, and so it goes on, and on, and on...

I read all two hundred and nine pages of The Day My Bum Went Psycho aloud. It took, at two chapters a night over five nights, what felt like a rather long time. I laughed for the first four chapters and the first two nights, but after that I became rapidly bored of rear end humour I'm afraid. I'll admit also to an amount of schadenfreude toward Zack and his bum-fighting chums and also towards all those wonderfully smelly rebellious bottoms. I don't think my bum would have been a bum rebel bigwig you see, for its farts don't smell. Still, I laughed quite a lot and if I'd been able to read this book to myself I think I'd have laughed a lot more.

Quite unbelievably, The Day My Bum Went Psycho was withdrawn from inclusion in an Australian education campaign to promote primary reading. Questions were raised about its cover which originally featured a naked baby's bottom and also about the suitability of its content for children. Such things make me despair. This book is just one long bum joke, no more, no less. It joins a long line of scatalogical humour from the classical authors of Greece and Rome through Sir Thomas More, down to the Carry On films. I don't see anyone banning the clever Latin puns on poo made by Sir Thomas More, they gave HIM sainthood for heavens sakes. I don't think Andy Griffiths expects beatification for his work but I don't suppose he expected to be banned either. The Day My Bum Went Psycho is an irresistibly funny, silly little book about bottoms. Accusations of right-wing subplots, racism and misplaced eroticism are about as relevant as similar accusations leveled against other children's authors such as Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. They are just silly. And worse than silly, they might stop children laughing at bottoms (a crime in itself in my book) whilst happily devouring an entire book, that thing the adult world is constantly telling them they don't do enough. It's no surprise that Conor read it all to himself once the bedtime story sessions led by Mummy were over, Conor is a voracious reader. Kieran, however, is younger, and much less confident. He's kept The Day My Bum Went Psycho under his pillow for over a week now, and he can read his favourite parts alone, after much concentration and practice. What does that tell you about what should, or should not, be on recommended books lists during literacy drives? Eh?

I think it's reasonable to give The Day My Bum Went Psycho an overall rating of four stars. It will be enjoyed by all children who like bottoms and bottom jokes, which I think it's pretty fair to say, is almost all children. It would make a perfect present for any small person of your acquaintance from the ages of say, seven to twelve. Don't buy it for anyone younger than that though, for their poor mother will have to read it all aloud. If you like bottom jokes too (go on, admit it), you might even find it worth the cover price for a happy afternoon's sniggering. I won't tell on you.

PS 'Tis true. My farts really don't smell. At all.

If you're looking for another gross book to snigger at, Disgusting Dave and the Farting Dog by Jim Eldridge is great fun, and it's educational too.

Booklists.jpg The Day My Bum Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths is in the Top Ten Books For Children Who Think That Farts Are Funny.

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cornycansing said:

I have to say this book was really funny...personally I would give this book a total of 7 stars... this book is not what you would call a classic novel - it's a funny and well humoured novel.

Kelly Hill said:

I bought this book for my son who is 9. He took it into school for a silent reading book when he has finished his work and came home upset because the Headteacher has banned it from the school. This is because it contains the horrific word.....bum!!! Have since started reading it to both my son and his 5 year old sister as a bedtime story and am finding it difficult to read as we are all in fits of giggles. Hilarious, well written book and I can't wait to see what happens. Would definately recommend it and will certainly try more of Andy Griffiths work. A breath of fresh air, LOL!!!

Sue said:

We think some headmasters should be banned from schools!

Jill said: