Alex Woolf and Isobel Lundie
The topic of poo almost invariably raises interest in young readers and this book will surely do so with its humorous approach to those often whiffy bodily emanations. Before you turn your nose up though, consider this statement that concludes the author’s introduction: ‘In short, there seems to be no end to human and animal ingenuity when it comes to finding uses for poo’.
A fair bit of ingenuity is also presented between the covers of this collaboration between author Alex Woolf and illustrator Isobel Lundie.
They start by presenting a handful or two of the weirdest facts about creatures and their poop. Did you know for instance that a hippopotamus whirls its tail while pooing. The result being flying faeces (sometimes reaching as high as 10 metres) that can be used to mark their territory and to show off to the opposite sex.
Imagine being a pitcher plant in the vicinity of a mountain tree shrew; said animals use pitcher plants as toilets, which is of mutual benefit: the plant receives nutrients in the poo and the shrew licks the plant’s nectar.
Child readers may well be aware that poo makes a fantastic fertiliser – there’s a spread on that topic herein – but how many are aware of some of the things it can be used to make. For instance there’s a company in Thailand aptly named Poo Poo Paper that uses elephant poo to make paper. Of course, the pong is removed during a process of boiling that also disinfects the pulp before it’s mixed with plant fibres, spread on mesh trays and left to bake in the sun. The result is paper. Apparently one elephant’s daily dung dump is sufficient for over 100 sheets of paper.
There’s also a luxury coffee that uses beans collected from the poo of Asian palm civets and it’s said to cost way, way more than your usual cup of coffee. I don’t think I’ll be trying that though.
Covering twelve topics in all, Alex Woolf’s playful, punning text is both fascinating – yes really – and full of amazing information and includes such topics as diverse as ancient fossilised faeces and what it can teach us, and ways poo can or might be utilised to produce power for heating, lighting and even vehicle fuel. In keeping with the tone of the verbal content, Isobel Lundie’s bright, detailed visuals are appropriately amusing and the resulting combination is sure to produce giggles aplenty in readers.