Author: Albee, Sarah
Illustrator: Robert Leighton
Title: Poop Happened! : A History of the World from the Bottom Up
Publisher: Walker & Co.
Copyright Date: 2010
Grades: 5 – 8
Curriculum Framework: Health, History and Social Sciences, Science and Technology
Review: The title makes it sound like this is going to be a book filled with irreverent puns and potty humor, and it is. However, it is so much more! The entire history of civilization is traced, showing how societies dealt with the increasingly complex problem of how to dispose of their citizens’ excretions. Despite its light tone, this is real historical research. The chapter on the rise and fall of Rome touches on the major events and controversies, but also includes fascinating information about how Rome’s plumbing affected its success. In addition to social studies, epidemiology is a recurring theme. Young readers will enjoy humorous chapter headings, such as The Origin of Feces and The Reeking Renaissance. “TMI” insets give readers “Too Much Information” about particularly unsavory aspects of the topic. Copious illustrations (some photos, some line drawings) aid the reader to visualize concepts described in the text. Inspiring words at the end encourage young readers to consider the challenges we still face when disposing of waste. Well-documented source notes reveal the staggering amount of research that went into producing this. The meticulous documentation is continued in the Picture Credits and Index. Highly recommended.
Reviewer’s Name: Mary Melaugh
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Library/City: Marshall Middle / Billerica, MA
Date of Review: 10/26/10