Chinese Book Review: Butt Detective Series  屁屁侦探

Author: Writer/illustrator team known as Troll
Country of original publication: Japan
Language: Simplified Chinese
Pages per book: 35
Lines per page: 3 – 6
Books in the series: 7 in each set (6 translated into Simplified Chinese)
Pinyin: No
Audio available:  
Luka compatible
Available in Singapore NLB libraries: Yes
Total length of the book: ~1500 characters
Character knowledge required by child to read it independently: 1200 ~ 1400

The Butt Detective Series has both pictures books (屁屁侦探 噗噗) and graded readers (aka bridging books 屁屁侦探读本) which have been translated into Chinese. The name is ever so slightly off putting, but thankfully the rest is quite clean, and rather fun.

I resisted for the longest time buying the Butt Detective (aka Detective Pi Pi) books, because at first glance, they seemed a little unsavoury.  However, after reading one from a friend, we quickly developed a collection of these at our place too.  My opposition to the series turned into an excitement when I now see my daughter is happy to read them over and over again in Chinese (even after having the books for six months, they still get leafed through at least weekly).  Better still, there is no English equivalent, so there’s no risk of her secretly borrowing the English versions from the school library and spoiling the fun.  Now I know why Motherly Notes and Hands on Fun Chinese recommended them! My kids really do find them hilarious.

What is Butt Detective?

Essentially these are kid-friendly mystery detective books, with bright colours, fun plot, and not too much text.  The 屁屁侦探 series originates from Japan, written in 2012.   Cumulative sales in Japan have exceeded 1.7 million copies.  In 2017, the series was #1 on Amazon Japan’s bestseller list for children’s books.

The series is now available in both Japanese and Chinese (traditional and simplified versions)  It’s also become an animated series too, which too has a Mandarin edition.    These are the first mystery detective books which my children have read, and it seems to be a favourite genre.

Each book has a separate mystery for Detective Pi Pi to solve, and the child searches for clues as his sidekick, using observation and logic.   

The illustrations (and the humour) are very Japanese – with a similar style to the renowned 100 Storey House series.  As an adult, I also enjoy the series, and always ask my children when they’re cackling out loud what the big joke is about.

Why Butt Detective is a good series for preschoolers / lower primary to read?

  • Highly interactive:  Almost every page contains a small game. It exercises children’s observation, judgment and analysis skills, and solves crimes while reading stories. A very interesting set of books!
  • Luka Compatible: an essential for our non-Chinese speaking family!
  • Kids’ detective genre:  We know very few detective series in Chinese.  One thing I like is how this series actively gets a child to play detective,  guessing combinations of colours through to observing odd things said by a certain character.
  • Introduces plenty of new vocab with good repetition:  Whilst each page has limited text, what it does contain is more advanced than other picture books we have  ….it introduces lots of detective vocab to a child, such as clues 线索, case 案件, kidnap 绑架, etc, which were new to us, but became familiar because they’re repeated many times.

Why is it gross?

Okay, it’s not *too* unsavoury.  For the most part, aside from the Butt Detective having an unfortunate shaped head which looks like a backside, he’s gentlemanly.  It’s only when the bad guy gets caught, and the Detective gives a puff from his mouth and in Japanese-style politeness then says “Excuse Me“.   It’s like his super power.   It’s enough to intrigue my kids, which is a good start for a Chinese book. 

Where can Butt Detective series be bought from in Simplified Chinese?

These books are all available to borrow in the Singapore NLB library collection.  We bought our books from two different stores in Singapore:

Then obviously the entire world is available through Taobao!

Titles of Butt Detective 屁屁侦探 Books

Butt Detective Picture books
EpisodeJapanese titleEnglish Title translation (very rough)Simplified Chinese Title
1おしりたんていButt detective: Retrieve the missing snacks屁屁侦探: 噗噗! 找回消失的人气点
2おしりたんていププッレインボーダイヤをさがせ!Butt detective:  Looking for a dreamy rainbow diamond屁屁侦探 噗噗!寻找梦幻的彩虹钻石
3おしりたんていププッちいさなしょちょうのだいピンチ!?Butt Detective: The big crisis of the little director!屁屁侦探 噗噗!小局长的大危机!
4おしりたんていププッきえたおべんとうのなぞ!Butt Detective: The mystery of the disappearing bento屁屁侦探 噗噗!消失的便当之谜
5おしりたんていププッおおどろぼうあらわる!Butt Detective: The thief of the century屁屁侦探 噗噗!世纪怪盗现身
6おしりたんていププッおしりたんていがふたりいる!?Butt Detective: There are two ass detectives屁屁侦探: 噗噗! 有两个屁屁侦探 [only in traditional]
7おしりたんていププッゆきやまのしろいかいぶつ! ?Butt Detective: The white monster of snow mountain屁屁侦探噗噗!雪山的白色怪物
Titles of Butt Detective Picture books 屁屁侦探 噗噗
Titles of Butt Detective Picture books 屁屁侦探 噗噗
Butt Detective Readers / Bridging Books

These are unfortunately only available in Traditional Chinese at the moment, so we haven’t bought them – but Luka apparently does narrate these too, and the good news, they’re planning to be released in Simplified Chinese anytime soon.

EpisodeJapanese titleEnglish Title translation (very rough)Traditional Chinese Title
1おしりたんていむらさきふじんのあんごうじけんButt Detective Reader: The Incident of Mrs. Purple and the Code屁屁偵探讀本: 紫衣夫人的暗號事件
2おしりたんていやみよにきえるきょじんButt Detective Reader: The Giant Disappeared in the Dark Night屁屁偵探讀本: 消失在暗夜中的巨人
3おしりたんていふめつのせっとうだんButt Detective Reader: Sombra Invasion屁屁偵探讀本: 黑影竊盜團入侵
4おしりたんていかいとうVS たんていButt Detective Reader: Detective vs. Weird Thief屁屁偵探讀本: 偵探對上怪盜
5おしりたんていいせきからのSOSButt Detective Reader: A Distress Letter from the Ruins屁屁偵探讀本: 來自遺址的求救信
6おしりたんていあやうしたんていじむしょButt Detective Reader: The Weird Detective Agency屁屁偵探讀本: 怪怪偵探事務所
7おしりたんていみはらしそうのかいじけんButt Detective Reader: Haojingzhuang has monsters屁屁偵探讀本: 好景莊有妖怪
TItles of Butt Detective Graded Readers 屁屁偵探讀本

Other similar books to consider:

If your family enjoyed Butt Detective, there are some other similar books which I would recommend trying out (that are probably slightly more wholesome than Butt Detective too, if that was any concern).

  • Other mystery books:  Nate the Great is another detective set my daughter really enjoys.  We have a bilingual version, which has English at one end, and Simplified Chinese at the other.  It’s longer than Butt Detective, but the vocabulary used is not any harder.
  • Other picture books which also can be narrated by Luka Reading Robot: See my list of Luka compatible books at this link, sorted by age group.
  • Other books which have been translated from Japanese: There are some excellent picture books which have been translated in Chinese, and contain these really uniquely wonderful pictures (think manga / anime crossed with video games) and / or fantastic storylines.  Our favourites include 100 Storey House, Mr Crow’s Bakery, and the T-Rex series.  But there are seriously lots and lots!

For more book recommendations, see my collection of earlier reviews:

3 thoughts on “Chinese Book Review: Butt Detective Series  屁屁侦探

  1. Hi Emma!
    Would you say that the 屁屁侦探 Bridge Books build on each other, in terms of story and vocabulary, so that it’s helpful to read them in order?
    Or are they stand-alone, so that a kid would have just as good an experience skipping some and reading them in any order?
    Thank you!! I use your blog to find Chinese books to buy next; I really appreciate that your reviews include “Number of characters needed to read the book;” it’s super-important for learners with limited vocabulary! The chart of character-level of Bridge Books is especially amazing!

    1. HI Sonya! I don’t think the books really build on each other…. read them in any order that child loves! They’re fairly stand alone. Thanks for your feedback! I’ll try to make some more charts soon. We also struggle to find great books that are at the right reading level, yet still engaging. If you have found any great books like 屁屁侦探, I’ve love to know too! Emma.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: