Monday, August 9, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Poop Happened! A history of the world from the bottom up by Sarah Albee, illustrated by Robert Leighton

Still looking at unusual histories here....Before you groan at the cover, let me tell you this book is fascinating. Yes, it's a history of sewage. But it's much more than that. This is social history, not history just of a small group of influential people, wars, and countries. It's the daily things that affected the majority of populations. The things that somehow get left out of history books.

Now I, as I have said on many occasions, really don't "do" medieval fantasies or romances. Because...yuck. All I can think about is how filthy things were! (Except Tamora Pierce's fantasies. She's the only quasi-medieval fantasy writer who has built in a modern sensibility to waste disposal. Just thought I'd mention it). Sarah Albee drives home the constant stinkiness of general life in the Roman, medieval, and industrial world. Kids looking for the bathroom humor will find plenty of stinky facts and ridiculously disgusting jobs, but they'll also discover just how important plumbing is to world affairs and how it continues to affect the lives of normal people all over the world today.

Verdict: I name this a sneaky book. It's got a "grab me" cover for reluctant readers, a kooky mixture of photographs and art, it's divided into bite-sized pieces and full of stinky facts...and suddenly a kid who's not interested in history or reading will discover he's read it - and know a lot more about history than he ever thought possible!

ISBN: 0802720773; Published May 2010 by Walker Books; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library (twice)


shelf-employed said...

Aren't children's books the best? There's always something new to learn and fun can be had along the way!

Jennifer said...

Yep, I was taking this to the new shelf (I've bought it since posting this review) and got waylaid by our adult services librarian, who took it home for her husband to read!

Sarah Albee said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for this marvelous review of POOP! You made my week!!!
Sarah Albee

Sarah Albee said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for this marvelous review! It made my week! Sarah

Jennifer said...

You're welcome! Apart from enjoying reading it myself, it's only been on our library new shelf for a couple weeks - and it's already circulated at least twice, not including all the people who have pulled it off to browse. A winnah!