“Eww!” “Gross!” “That’s disgusting!”
Not the usual response an author gets at a book reading, but Artie Bennett is just fine with it. In fact, he thinks it’s “Poopendous.”
That’s the name of Bennett’s popular children’s book, the follow-up to his freshman work, “The Butt Book,” inspired by the sing-song rhymes of Dr. Seuss classics like “The Foot Book,” “The Eye Book” and “The Nose Book.”
Both books appealed to the children at the Centre County Library on Wednesday, where they listened to the stories and heard behind-the-scenes tidbits about the facts inside and the process of turning an idea into something people can actually read.
It was an interactive reading, with the Brooklyn author encouraging kids to get involved with questions and shouting out recurring themes.
“I feel weird just shouting out ‘Butt!’ ” one girl said.
“So did I for a while,” Bennett said.
He clearly got over it.
The children hooted and giggled at words like kiester and tuchas. They playfully grimaced and groaned at talk of poop.
But what they might not have noticed were the science, history and social studies they picked up along the way.
Interspersed in the juvenile humor were pellets of knowledge, like how Confederate troops raided bat-filled caves for guano to make their own gunpowder when cut off from supplies during the Civil War, or how anemones and jellyfish are among the animals that can’t “cut the cheese.”
That last fact was from his soon-to-be-released fourth book, “Belches, Burps and Farts, Oh My.”
A fifth work is planned.
The title has not yet been released, but this one will deal with other kid-favorite gross-outs, like spit and snot.
“This is the best field trip ever,” said Sydni Boone, 7, of Pleasant Gap.
Many of the kids came to the program from the Young Publishers summer camp program at the Bellefonte Art Museum, where campers are learning about the writing process.
One of the leaders asked Bennett to explain the importance of editing.
“A good editor is worth a million dollars,” he said, showing the children examples how his editors improved “Poopendous.”
It’s possible that he is a bit biased, however.
Bennett’s day job is copy-editing at a different publishing house.
He follows up his Bellefonte appearance with a trip to Schlow Centre Region Library on Thursday before returning home.
“I love it. I really do,” he said. “The kids love the books. It’s so gratifying to see the kids get excited about something I created.”
No butts about it.