Title: Princess Benjamina has a Very Cheeky Bum
Author: Claire Hooper
Publisher: Albert Street Publishing/Allen and Unwin
Published: 30th March 2021
Synopsis: When you are trying to find your inner voice, sometimes you need to look behind you! This delightful tale, bursting with humour, proves that behind every cheeky princess… is her own rear end.
Princess Benjamina had a very cheeky bum
And wherever Benjamina went, her bum was sure to come.
It didn’t fluff. It didn’t smell. It didn’t make a mess.
Instead it liked to shout things that embarrassed the princess…
Princess Benjamina’s talking bum gets her into all sorts of mischief.
But now Benji has a plan to get to the bottom of the matter – a clever plan that will shoosh her tush for good, or at least for the night of the Royal Ball…
When you’re a princess, everything is supposed perfect and pretty, and everyone is supposed to adore you. You’re not meant to have a cheeky bum that says the exact opposite of what you want it to say, or what you are thinking. But that is exactly what poor Princess Benjamina has! A cheeky bum that chatters away and says the most unfortunate things at the wrong moment – and it embarrasses poor Princess Benjamina! She’s tried everything to silence the cheeky derriere – and she has to hurry, because there is a Royal Ball coming up, and Benji wants to attend – but will her bum get her in trouble again?
This delightful debut from comedian Claire Hooper explores fairy tale tropes, and pairs them with the bum humour that many kids just love – yet Claire takes a different stance. Instead of the usual use of the usual fart jokes, Benji’s mum talks! This is a fun and clever way of turning a much-used trope on its head with a fun and fantastical new twist. Body parts that talk also draws on fairy tale tropes and common themes in modern children’s literature. The two have been combined cleverly here to create something new and unique for readers, aimed at girls but I think readers of all ages and genders will enjoy this book. It allows for people to imagine what their bums might say if they could talk – but also asks why Benji’s bum is so cheeky!
I loved the rhyming throughout the book, as it gives the whole story a rhythm that helps build literacy and an understanding of the flow of language. Claire’s story also helps to build on a child’s vocabulary – where she uses synonyms for bum such as derrière, booty, bum, and rear, and this combined with the rest of the story, builds on a child’s reading ability and vocabulary, whilst engaging them in a fun and fantastically funny story that captures the fun and whimsy of childhood and friendship, especially with this unique and refreshing take on bum humour that is sure to capture the imagination of readers both young and old. It is a story about friendship and overcoming hardship and finding ways to deal with what you have been given, in a way that works for you. It also shows that we all approach life and the difficulties and challenges in different ways that work for us, rather than finding ways to fit in and work for those around us in wider society all the time. The rhyming and rhythm, which is a common feature of picture books, also helps build literacy and understanding of language, as kids can see how patterns are formed and what words can work together. This will be a great book to start building that confidence in children, and help reluctant or struggling readers find something that they can enjoy whilst learning.
A fabulously funny and enchanting book that I’m sure readers will adore and treasure, and that can be used to entertain and help build reading confidence and literacy confidence.