Monday, May 16, 2016

NONFICTION MONDAY: Poop Happened! by Sarah Albee


Did lead pipes cause the fall of the Roman Empire?

How many toilets were in the average Egyptian pyramid?

How did a knight wearing fifty pounds of armor go to the bathroom?

Was poor hygiene the last straw before the French Revolution?

Did Thomas Crapper really invent the modern toilet?

How do astronauts go in space?

History finally comes out of the water-closet in this exploration of how people's need to relieve themselves shaped human development from ancient times to the present. Throughout time, the most successful civilizations were the ones who realized that everyone poops, and they had better figure out how to get rid of it! From the world's first flushing toilet invented by ancient Minoan plumbers to castle moats in the middle ages that used more than just water to repel enemies, Sarah Albee traces human civilization using one revolting yet fascinating theme.

A blend of historical photos and humorous illustrations bring the answers to these questions and more to life, plus extra-gross sidebar information adds to the potty humor. This is bathroom reading kids, teachers, librarians, and parents won't be able to put down!


Normally, I don't read books about such gross topics but this sounded rather intriguing.  And I'm glad I read it, mostly, sometimes ignorance really is bliss.  On the other hand, after reading about all the major problems caused by the lack of adequate waste removal, I have a much greater appreciation for modern toilet facilities.  The chapter titles are quite intriguing and eye-catching (especially for young readers who are into the gross, psst, don't tell them that they are actually studying history here ;)):  Poop Matters, Bad Plumbing? Bad News, The Origin of Feces, When in Rome, Poo as the Romans do, etc.  Each chapter includes brief sections on various aspects of the topic along with sidebars on Hygiene heroes, too much information sections (these tend to be especially appalling), and Icky Occupations.  There was a lot of information here about what life really was like during various time periods, including practical things such as how women in hoop skirts managed to go to the bathroom (read the book if you want to know!).  This is the sort of history that is left out of the history books but was really important in the lives of those who lived through those times (the sections on disease make this clear).  This is a book that will definitely catch the eye of young readers, but only those with a strong stomach should pick it up.

1 comment:

  1. My middle schooler is actually more averse to reading these topics than I am, but I think I will enjoy this one!


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