It’s fair to say that Roald Dahl Funny Prize winner Peter Bently likes dogs. And his enthusiasm was infectious, because even the avowed dog-dislikers in the audience were barking, yapping and playing dog sumo by the end of his excellent Edinburgh International Book Festival event.
If you have a mini canine fan in your household (who also happens to enjoy a fair dollop of toilet humour) then Bently’s new book will be right up their street – The Great Dog Bottom Hunt is based on an old story that his uncle told him in childhood, and sets out to explain the reason why all dogs like to sniff each other’s bottoms. The children in the audience were in fits of giggles all the way through and my own son cannot now walk past a dog without peering intently at its rear end and inviting me to examine it with him.
Bently and the Book Festival were obviously aware that the young human bottoms of the audience wouldn’t want to stay on their seats for very long, so the story was swiftly followed by a fun interactive game called Dog Sumo. This involved the children colouring in and cutting out paper dogs, and then trying to drum them off shoes boxes. By the end of it we were all pedigree chums and the audience clearly thought that Bently’s event was the best in show.