‘Butt Ugly’ is more than pretty good

Ok. So what if the title of the book is unconventional?

But then, so is this ultra-cool story about the scrawny, greenish runt of the litter who grabs your attention from the first page:

“When I was born, everyone screamed, ‘That pup is messed up! All snaggle-toothed and wrinkly, with three little hairs sticking up from his butt. That pup is Butt Ugly!'”

And so begins Butt Ugly ($16.95, ZuZu Petals Publishing), the story of a not-so-attractive dog ridiculed by his brothers, sisters and owner. Standout writer Lynn Montgomery and highly capable illustrator Terrie Redding have created a page-turner that parents and kids alike will enjoy. When we read the copy sent to us for review, even our dog—an overly excited 2-year-old black lab—listened with unusual attentiveness.

Montgomery’s tale, however, is hardly a rehashing of The Ugly Duckling or an adventure in building bow-wow self-esteem. Nope. Readers will get a kick out of the dog’s lively, first-person narrative that showcases plenty of spunk, even though other pups in the litter were cute, cuddly and more talented (apparently dog tricks do count when pups get adopted).

What ultimately happens to Butt Ugly, though, offers readers a feel-good ending and food for thought, as readers will think twice about our culture’s obsession with appearances. More likely, even kids will finish the last page giving more consideration to what’s on the inside and how our identity is more than what we see.

In promoting the book, Cecelia Rodriguez, director of the non-profit organization, Child Abuse Listening and Mediation (CALM), described it as “a beautiful story for everyone–parents, teachers, friends–and a message that reflects what we at CALM know–that every child deserves this kind of unconditional love and acceptance.”

Beyond being a great, quick read, Butt Ugly takes steps that parents—especially those of us concerned about the environment—can appreciate.

Publisher ZuZu Petals uses post-consumer waste, recycled paper and vegetable-based inks, and employs wind energy to get its pages printed. Another bonus? A portion of their profits support CALM and various animal rescue efforts. In addition, ZuZu Petals has partnered with Eco-Libris, a tree-offset company that helps plant a tree in a developing country for every book purchased. Read more at http://www.zuzupetalsbooks.com

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