Parents of reluctant readers complain that boys are forced to stick to stuffy required school lists that exclude nonfiction or silly subjects, or have teachers who cater to higher achievers and girls. They're hoping books that exploit boys' love of bodily functions and gross-out humor can close the gap.
Body gas is Ray Sabini's halfway point for younger children. The fourth-grade teacher from Miller Place, outside New York City, heard from dozens of grateful parents, teachers and librarians after he self-published his "Sweet Farts" in 2008 under the name Raymond Bean.
The book chronicles a 9-year-old boy's multimillion-dollar science fair invention of tablets that can change foul-smelling gas into the culprit's scent of choice: summer rose, cotton candy, grape -- even pickles, as requested by his little sister. It climbed to No. 3 on Amazon in children's humor in October on little more than word of mouth and prompted a sequel, "Sweet Farts: Rippin' It Old-School," to be released next month.
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