Friday, May 27, 2005

The Truth About Poop

Goodman, Susan E. 2004. THE TRUTH ABOUT POOP. New York: Viking. ISBN 0670036749 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-5]


Who knew that the tiny skipper caterpillar could shoot its poop six feet? Or that jellyfish and sea anemones eat and poop from the same opening? Or that ancient Romans used pigeon poop to bleach their hair? These are but a few of the slightly gross and fascinating facts in The Truth About Poop. Susan Goodman presents the inescapable truth that although we don’t discuss it much, poop happens, and happens big. In fact, a horse can unload ten pounds of poop without breaking stride. Scientists have found fossilized tyrannosaurus rex dung that weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds. Poop can be dangerous. Pig manure is so potent that some of its gases can eat through metal. Don’t stand behind a goose, they poop every 12 seconds. Or poop can be just plain gross. Turkey vultures poop all over their legs to keep cool. After wolverines finish feeding on a dead animal, they poop all over it to save the rest for later. Leftovers take on a whole new meaning. Information about how much, how often and how big provides fascinating facts that will be gross enough to amuse without pandering to what will surely be a slightly snickering audience.

The ABCs of elimination covers the basics of the digestive process, the 100 billion bacteria we poop out every day, and gives a weight to poop ratio so every kid can estimate their daily output. The history of the toilet brings us to the Japanese model that can take your temperature and blood pressure while you are taking care of other business. The history of toilet paper has obviously come a long way from the days of everything from leaves and moss, to old anchor cables, coconut husks, or corncobs, which were used in America for centuries. When asked what would be more important if stranded on a desert island, almost half of the people picked toilet paper over food. The muted color cartoon illustrations are humorous, and just edgy enough to resonate with an elementary aged reader.

Children may enjoy exploring other related aspects of the topic, looking up information about the animals mentioned in the book, or hearing from a local water treatment plant worker.

Other books by Susan Goodman:

By Tammy Korns

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