Anyone can cut the cheese – but not everyone can call a toot their best friend.
That is, unless you’re the lead character of a new children’s book written by Hamilton author Paul Moncrieffe and illustrated by Oakville artist Dean Outschoorn.
The self-published book, titled The Incredible Adventures of Toot and Jimmy, tells the story of how a 10-year-old boy named Jimmy spies on his best friend Toot and they become Stink Boy, a superhero who saves their school from a monster Chewing gum with farts.
It’s a story that started in 2019.
Outschoorn and Moncrieffe met at animation studio Pipeline Studios in Hamilton, where the two collaborated on a handful of high-profile shows and Emmy-nominated projects like Elinor Wonders Why.
They often spent hours in each other’s offices, sharing new ideas – while also building a “creative partnership,” Moncrieffe said in an interview with The Spectator.
One day, after a pitch meeting, the two were back in Outschoorn’s office and Moncrieffe was throwing around suggestions.
But this time it was for a separate project.
Outschoorn, a father of three boys who love to read, suggested creating a book. And as an ode to his sons, it could focus on one of their favorite things. This is how the idea of a book about the friendship between a child and its fart came about.
“I immediately said, ‘This is awesome, let’s do it,'” said Moncrieffe. “And that’s when the concept started.”
The process of creating the book officially began in 2020, a matter hastened by pandemic-related downtime and a cancer diagnosis for Outschoorn. They also recruited Moncrieffe’s partner, Ally Simpson, as editor.
The trio held creative sessions over Zoom, where they compressed a 20,000-word story into their eventual nearly 100-page finished copy, gave each other feedback on Google Docs, and watched Outschoorn rough out the design of each page in real-time .
And despite very few face-to-face meetings, the year-long process was “very easy,” Outschoorn said.
“It was still very creative and really seamless,” Outschoorn said. “Especially with the ability to share screens, it was great.”
What they ended up with was a chapter book for aspiring readers full of colourful, action-packed illustrations that would sit on the same shelf as the popular series Captain Underpants or The Bad Guys.
But the story is much more than a boy and his fart, Outschoorn said. It is also designed to teach children the power of friendship and accepting oneself for who one is.
“It’s all about the heart,” said Moncrieffe.
So far, the book is available online from Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and in person from Epic Books. It will eventually be available from the Hamilton Public Library.
Simpson said the feedback they’ve received from readers and their families is “truly amazing,” noting that they’ve also received fan art from kids, who they call Farts and Crafts.
Moncrieffe also noted their rapid success after they launched the book in mid-June, earning them their place in Amazon’s top 10 sellers list.
“It’s really just fuel to keep going,” Outschoorn said. “We all feel that we really have something here.”
Her second book, The Incredible Adventures of Toot and Jimmy vs. Dog Snot, is slated for release in September and will be available to readers.