But to say his artwork is just for grownups would be a bum rap.
Especially since his children’s book "The Butt Book." shows a whole other side of Lester.
And it just won him a Reuben Award for book illustration from the National Cartoonists Society.
“The Butt Book” is exactly what it sounds like — a giddy homage to derrieres in all their various forms. As
the description on the Barnes & Noble website says, it pays tribute to “all butts, short butts, round butts, flat butts. Butts on mummies and butts on mommies. Butts on giraffes and elephants and dogs and ... fish? Yes, even fish butts are celebrated in this tribute to backsides, rumps, tushies, keisters, heinies and derrieres. Dozens of funny rhymes and pages of laugh-out-loud pictures pay homage to a body part that keeps kids and grownups giggling with glee.”
Lester’s watercolor and scratchboard illustrations in the book take readers of all ages to scenes ranging from art galleries to ancient Egypt.
He teamed up with Artie Bennett, executive copy editor for Random House Children’s Books who writes on the side, for “The Butt Book.”
Lester also recently won one of the most prestigious awards in journalism for a second time, the Society of Professional Journalists award for editorial cartooning. Lester won that award for his work in 2006 as well.
Lester has another children’s book he illustrated — “Scritch-Scratch” — which received a glowing review in the New York Times, and his “A Is for Salad” made the New York Times Top 10 list.
The local cartoonist/illustrator has now been honored by the National Cartoonists Society five times, and he’s won several Georgia Press Association awards throughout the years.
Lester was the only twice-nominated cartoonist at this year’s Reuben Awards, presented Saturday night in Boston, having also been nominated in the editorial cartoon category.
“It was an honor to represent my family, my paper, my town and the South behind the enemy lines of Boston. (After all, Appomattox was just a time out,)” said Lester. “To be honored by your peers is great validation in any profession. To receive an award in a room that includes Mrs. Charles Schultz, Garry Trudeau, Jerry Robinson (the inventor of The Joker), Glen Keane who designed the Little Mermaid for Disney and son of Family Circus creator Bill Keane, Mort Walker of Beetle Bailey fame and Arnold Roth of The New Yorker is incredibly humbling — and I don’t humble easily.”
The NCS is not alone in its recognition of “The Butt Book.” Reader reviews on Amazon.com rave about it.
Says one reader, a mom named Molly: “Absolutely, positively, HILARIOUSLY good! Simple as that. … And the illustrations — Man, they were FANTABULOUS and went awesomely with the words Artie used. Well done, Mike Lester!”
The book is available for purchase online or available for purchase locally at Barnes and Noble booksellers for $16.99.