Some writers edit, as I have done periodically over my career. And some editors write, as my Marley & Me editor Mauro DiPreta has done in a charming new children’s book just out. Well, it’s not really my editor extraordinaire who wrote “Fartsy Claus.” It’s his colorful alter-ego, Mitch Chivus. As you no doubt gathered from the title, Santa has a bit of a gas problem. No, not a bit. He’s gassier than a methane plant. His problem began when he arrived at a house and, finding no cookies and milk, dug into a big pot of franks and beans, leaving him with one wicked case of flatulence. I now quote from the HarperCollins press release: “Lucky for Santa, his gastric gaffe took place in the presence of two especially ingenious tots, who just happen to have a science lab in their attic. The three of them head upstairs to devise a solution that will salvage Santa’s reputation and save Christmas for the whole world.”
So that’s the story in a nutshell. When I tell you “Fartsy Claus” is filled with seat-of-the-pants action, I mean that in the most literal sense. Or to quote Mick Jagger, it’s a gas, gas, gas.
I’ve made school appearances up and down the East Coast to promote my own children’s books, and I have learned that nothing makes kids giggle and squeal more than bodily functions. The holy trinity of children’s literature, I’ve concluded, is poop, pee, and underpants. Use them in any combination and you are sure to get loads of laughs. Mitch Chivus has hit upon a similar truth: for children, farts are always funny. Especially when you work them into groaner rhymes.
“Fartsy Claus” is on sale now. Check it out!