What a beautiful world it is, thinks Fart, a cursed cloud of stench who wants nothing more than to make a friend, but keeps putting people off. Fart is the star of the beloved Australian children's book No One Likes A Fart, written by author/entrepreneur Zoé Foster Blake and illustrated by Adam Nickel, and out in the U.S. on January 14.
Proof that a good attitude is everything, Fart puts on a positive face to befriend people ("These will be my first very best friends"), and is rebuffed again and again ("Take your butt trumpet out of here!"), at one point whooshed out the window by a family member who points a fan at him. You really feel for Fart. But before all hope is lost, his very good heart finds a match in Burp, a friend in kind.
A triumph of the human spirit, the story is a paean to what happens when you stay true to who you are. Did I mention it's full of jolly fart jokes?
Like the hero of its tale, No One Likes A Fart slipped out into the Australian market in 2018 with a jolt of excitement, and was subsequently named Children's Picture Book of the Year by the cheeky buggers* at The Australian Book Industry Awards (*I can say it, I am from there). Ever since, it has been a fixture of Book Week, an Australian celebration for which parents spend their nights frantically throwing together book-character costumes for their kids to wear to school the next day — think lots of ad-hoc Thing 1 and Thing 2s, an army of Hermiones and hungry caterpillars, and traditionally not a bolt of tulle formed into a neat little fart cloud, until now.
No One Likes A Fart, you see, turns out to be very well liked.
The reason the book is so winning is Blake takes seriously the pain of her hero: "I give up, thought Fart. I'm kind and friendly, and I'd make a wonderful very best friend, but no one will give me a chance." Blake gives our poor protagonist the same full-hearted advice she offered up in her 2019 guide to matters of the heart, LOVE!, published by Penguin Group Australia: keep the hope alive and believe in your own bizarre magnetism.
Whether you're a lovelorn 20-something, a mom gutting it out through the struggle-bus of the newborn period, or a lonely poof of gas, Blake wants the world for you. "You're lovely," one character tells another in No One Likes A Fart. "They just don't get it."
It's a message little tootmonsters will likely warm to.
No One Likes A Fart (Penguin Random House) is out on January 14.