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The Great Dog Bottom Swap by Peter Bentley and Mei Matsuoka is a clever and hilarious picture book for young children which explains the reason why when dogs meet each other they say hello by sniffing each other’s bottoms.

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This is a wonderfully silly book, written in rhyme, which tells the story of the great dog get together, where all the dogs have to hang up their bottoms as they go in to the grand dining hall to share a fine dog banquet and a night of dancing.

A fire causes some confusion on the way out and bottoms are mislaid in the process.

You can figure out the reason for the bottom sniffing from there.

The illustrations are wonderfully quirky and amusing. My particular favourite being the double page spread showing all the coat pegs on which the dogs have hung their small, perfectly pink, round bottoms.

I usually dislike rhyming books. It is just a personal preference because I hate the way sense has to make way for sentences that scan and rhyme. In this case though I would make an exception, as the story entertains me so very much I am totally willing to overlook the rhyme scheme, which is a good job as this is one of my children’s favourite picture books and I must have read it at least fifteen times already this year.

It is a wonderful book to read aloud for children from about the age of two up. I would say six or seven is an upper limit, but the subject matter means that honestly, you could get away with it much further up the age range than is normal with this kind of book. Even my husband finds it amusing and he’s much, much older than seven.

It would make a wonderful gift for a child and along with The Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business, it has done an enormous amount to make scatalogical humour a desirable thing in a children’s book, for both girls and boys.

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