Review Blog

Jan 10 2013

Poo! A history of the world from the bottom up! by Sarah Albee

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Bloomsbury, 2012. ISBN 9781408171905.
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Non fiction. Excrement. Humour. A history of how humans dispose of their waste material is given a very funny airing in this mammoth tome. With 170 pages jam-packed full of information rarely thought of, this book will fill in hours of harmless fun for kids and parents alike. Fascinating titbits about whether there were toilets in a pyramid or how a knight went to the toilet, or how the sewers of London came to be built, invite readers to linger on the pages and illustrations. Full of tales which will be told and retold amongst their peers, younger readers will eat this up.
The layout of the book is somewhat dreary, with blue and green colours used with copious white background and black print, but the information will warm the book to its target audience. The toilet rolls that decorate each page too, leave the reader in no doubt about the stance the author is taking, although I found the repetition in the first few chapters, of how and why the stuff is important along with reference to just a handful of pooers a little unnecessary. But again, the target audience will dip in and out of this book, gathering what information they want, discarding others along the way. This will cause a sensation amongst those hardened non readers, those for whom the Guiness Book of Records is the book they cut their reading teeth on, and for whom the many list books around now are snapped up. Others will come in when they can, reading it over shoulders, hearing about it on the playground grapevine, asking for it for Christmas. How ever it gets to them and why they pick it up will be of no consequence once they read and are drawn into the world of poo.
Fran Knight

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