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For Children, A Good Booger Joke Helps The Medicine Go Down

Dr. Howard Bennett creates elaborate Lego sculptures, juggles squishy balls during office visits and transforms exam gloves into water balloons, but it's his booger and fart jokes that crack up even his grumpiest pediatric patients.

"Kids of any age are curious about their bodies," the pediatrician writes in his latest book, The Fantastic Body: What Makes You Tick & How You Get Sick, "especially if what they're learning about is gross! That's why kids laugh hysterically if someone tells a booger joke or lets out a big, juicy fart in class."

Bennett, who practices in Washington, D.C., has been writing about children's health for years, in books and in a column for The Washington Post. The Fantastic Bodyincludes fun facts about lice, pimples, warts and other nasty stuff, but he also explains to children how muscles work, how you digest food, what's going on inside your brain and heart, how to treat common ailments and how to avoid getting sick in the first place. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


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