Two and a Bit Books about Flatulence

Yes, you read that right. Today we are looking at books about farting. If, unlike C. S. Lewis, you retain the adolescent “fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up” then you may wish to look away here. Go and read Proust or something.

The “bit” is the title essay in the collection Fart Proudly, which is – believe it or not – a collection of the works of Benjamin Franklin. Yes, that Benjamin Franklin.

Writing the Declaration of Independence 1776 cph.3g09904
All right, Franklin! We know it was you!

His reasoning went like this. Farts smell bad. Therefore letting them loose in company is frowned upon. Therefore people hold them in, which is probably bad for their health. Therefore, any scientist really wanting to benefit humanity should come up with something which could be added to food, say, to alter the chemical composition of farts, in order to make them smell pleasant.

The rest of the items and essays collected in the book, sadly, are not about flatulence at all, and therefore this only qualifies as a bit.

Moving on to a whole book, we have what you get when scientists actually do turn their attention to flatulence, viz Does It Fart? by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti. The book covers a wide variety of animals, including the bearded dragon (yes), the sea cucumber (no), the spider (beyond the limits of scientific knowledge), the salamander (maybe), the dinosaur (not any more), and the unicorn (no, but only because it doesn’t exist).

A man balances on his forearms on the hindquarters of a horse, holding its tail out of the way and putting the mouth end of a large trumpet up to its bum.
Early research scientist at work in the field.

As well as all sorts of fascinatingly flatulent scientific knowledge to be gleaned, there are also not-to-be-missed illustrations by Ethan Kocak. My favourite is the Bolson pupfish, which sometimes needs to fart to save its life. (No, I am not making this up.)

Finally, for the childlike among us – who am I kidding? all flatulent books are for the childlike among us, regardless of official intended audience – is Toot, by Leslie Patricelli. This is a board book, and is therefore suitable for children of all ages (unlike the collection of Franklin’s work mentioned above).

The young narrator has observed that Mummy, Daddy, and Doggy toot, but wonders if Kitty or Fishy toots, which suggests that he or she is in need of a copy of that educational book, Does It Fart?. (Yes, and no, assuming I have correctly identified Fishy as a goldfish.)

Of course, there are more than three – or rather two-and-a-bit – books about farting in this wonderful world of ours. Do you have any to recommend?

5 Replies to “Two and a Bit Books about Flatulence”

  1. ‘Old farts: a spotter’s guide’ identifies different kinds of farts and farters and has the standout feature of sound effects! No smell effects thankfully.

    1. Another area where science has not become far advanced! Although I suppose there is always scratch and sniff…

  2. I know you have read The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), which features a certain fizzy drink whose bubbles do not rise but go downwards. The young heroine points out that just as normal bubbles rise and produce burps, these ‘can come out somewhere else with an even louder and ruder noise’. It can also levitate the perpetrator.

    1. As I recall, the BFG himself contests the idea that the noise is rude. “If everyone is making whizzpoppers, then why not talk about it?”

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