The Clue is in the Poo
Andy Seed and Claire Almon
The author of this book is passionate about getting children (and their teachers) enthusiastic about reading and a great one for making non-fiction fun. Here’s his latest and let’s say, enticingly titled offering that as well as investigating their faecal matters, looks at animals’ footprints, homes, nests, skulls,
coprolites (fossilised dung to you and me), and more. And yes, it’s terrific fun.
Poo, so we’re told is a good indicator when it comes to clues regarding which animals you’re likely to come across on your foray into the wild; and generally speaking the larger the animal, the larger its poo. Hmm! A rhino for instance leaves deposits of between 50 and 90 cm whereas that of a wolf is only 12 to 15 cm and shrew poos are a minute 2-4mm.
For those interested in classifying things we’re given half a dozen different turd types – tubular, lumpy, pea-like, pancake, shiny blocks/clumps and twisted/hairy, deposited by various mammals to start us off.
Bird droppings, you’ll be interested to learn, are generally more tricky to identify than those of mammals and should you want to become a bird poo detective, illustrations of seven types of bird plops are provided.
Now who would have thought that an adult reviewer could become completely engrossed in a book that focuses on excretory matter? It was certainly so where this one is concerned: my next forest expedition will perhaps take on a completely different focus; and yes, I’ve read the rules of tracking provided at the front of the book along with the annotated list of things needed on an expedition.
I must mention the illustrations: bear in mind that Claire Almon whose watercolours grace the pages is from the USA; thus her blue robin’s egg is of the North American robin whereas the European robin lays creamy eggs with light reddish-brown markings.