Who gives a poop? by Heather L. Montgomery

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An interesting narrative, non-fiction book that tries to convey the important role faeces plays in the world and how scientists are using it to help animals and the environment.

Heather Montgomery is a passionate scientist who takes the reader along with her on field trips and to Zoom meetings as she investigates what can be discovered from faeces (or feces if you are in the USA).  She has packed a huge amount of information in this novel-style book in which she uses different scientists to help her to understand aspects of their work in this field.  From an inventor of a biogas powered streetlamp that uses “doggie do” as its source of fuel to identifying where poachers are hunting using the DNA found in Elephant scats. 

The author injects plenty of humour through her very funny footnotes on each page, which are then fully annotated at the back of the book. It also contains a full index and a glossary of Waste Words.  The cover is bright and colourful and is as attractive as her other book written within this theme called Something Rotten: a fresh look at roadkill.

The text is fast paced with a strong sense of the author's voice and is interesting enough for an adult or high school student to read from cover to cover.  I am not sure younger children would bother to read it through as I did.  So, my worry with this book is who is the audience?  I think the form of the book could have been more carefully considered. The illustrations are only small line drawings on a few pages in each chapter.  A fully illustrated non-fiction book with photographs, tables, charts etc. may have had a wider audience.

Themes: Faeces, Animal droppings, Environment.

Gabrielle Anderson