Babette Cole was born in Jersey in the Channel Islands. She graduated from Canterbury College of Art in 1973 and was the illustrator and author of more than 150 witty, imaginative, irreverent and thought-provoking picture books for children including the bestselling, stereotype-defying Princess Smartypants. She produced animated storyboards for the BBC and illustrated numerous greetings cards and books by other authors as well as her own. Babette adored the countryside and was a keen horse rider and breeder. She spent much of her life in Lincolnshire, before moving to Kent and then westward through Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
Cole (Mommy Laid an Egg) uses a medical pretext to indulge fans of scatological jokes in this off-color, disjointed tale. Things begin innocently enough: the Gumboyle family's dog is not only their pet but their doctor. Dr. Dog discourages one Gumboyle from smoking by showing a diagram of tar-filled lungs, and he performs a tonsillectomy on another. But the prognosis for good reading takes a turn for the worse with a drawn-out description of Baby Gumboyle's worm problem, which prompts some catchy advice from Dr. Dog: ``Never scratch your bum and suck your thumb!'' Equally disconcerting are the pages on beer-and-baked-beans aficionado Grandpa, diagnosed as having that ``terrible wind'' that must ``blast out of your bottom.'' Though such passages may leave modest readers aghast (har har), they are likely to inspire hilarity in the toilet-humor crowd, particularly when Grandpa's ``wind'' blows the roof off the Gumboyle home. Few others will embrace this indelicate story, but admirers of Everybody Poops are in luck. Ages 4-6. (Sept.)
K-Gr 2-The Gumboyles' pet beagle, Dr. Dog, teaches his family that smoking hurts their lungs, that germs can attack tonsils, and that nits live in hair. He then proceeds to explain that Baby Gumboyle caught worms by not washing his hands after using the toilet. He issues the admonition, ``Never scratch your bum and suck your thumb!'') The coup de grâce, however, is Granddad's gastrointestinal problem from eating too many baked beans and drinking too much beer; ``...he farted so hard he blew the roof right off the house!'' Children will no doubt learn a few hygiene lessons here, and find this story funny. Despite the silliness of the presentation, the information is basically accurate and important. The illustrations are typical Cole-full of humorous detail, including cartoon drawings of the ``tubes'' inside the human body. On-target health lessons delivered with a decidedly different slant.-Christine A. Moesch, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, NY
"Earthy humour gets across some serious points about family hygiene" * The Good Book Guide *