Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Poop Happened!

While I'm waiting to get my hands on BUGGED, the new book by Sarah Albee, I'm posting a review of another of her nonfiction titles for young readers: 

Maybe you don't want to admit it, but THIS is just the kind of book you've been wanting to "dip" into!

I love nonfiction books that demand to be kept close by the bedside or even in the bathroom for quick dips. You know, the kind of book you don’t necessarily sit down and read cover-to-cover but do want to read bit by bit, possibly in random order.

Don't know Horrible Histories? It's a series of books by Terry Deary and a great CBBC series.
Pranklopedia and any of the Horrible Histories series come to mind. Another one to keep close and (cautiously) dip into is Sarah Albee’s Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up (Walker 2010).

What I like about this book is its combination of a conversational tone and solid research. The other thing I like is that the information comes in small, easily digestible tidbits.

Poop Happened is a bit like Civilization 101, a history of civilization survey course, if survey courses were interesting and kind of gross.

“Many historians consider the official start of human civilization to be the time when people started to write stuff down,” Albee says. “But you could also argue that civilization began with the first toilet.”

Having gone through extensive bathroom renovations, I completely agree. Owning a working bathroom with a comfortable toilet makes a person feel very civilized.

No matter where you dip into Poop Happened!, say the chapter on medieval times called “The Age of Shovelry” or a later one on “Vileness in the Victorian Era,” you’re bound to learn something unexpected—and probably not suitable for repeating at the dinner table. 

Albee’s book makes the process of getting civilized, or getting toilets, accessible, fascinating, and fun.

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