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Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)) Hardcover – August 3, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Series: Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763624373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763624378
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 9.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,599,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5–Davies offers a discussion of why animals defecate, how feces are made and what is in them, and where they can be found. While this may be more information than an average adult cares to know on the subject, the topic is sure to attract curious youngsters. The word "unmentionable" in the subtitle is a misnomer, because the vocabulary is extensive and includes such terms as "coprophage," which is a poop eater. Some words are not listed in the short glossary or index. Clever chapter titles such as "Sloppy or Ploppy" are sure to bring a smile to many faces. The stylized, primitive pen-and-ink cartoons are digitally colored in an earth-tone palette. Childlike lettering appears atop the illustrations, in dialogue balloons, upside down, and sideways with scratched out marks. The book concludes with "Poop Facts" from the biggest to the weirdest. For nonfiction readers who have difficulty finding something of interest to read, this book is sure to catch their attention.–Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-5. Children who have been introduced to the concept that everybody poops by the book of the same name can now do a text analysis of the topic in a volume that explores the stuff by color, usefulness, and size. Thankfully sticking mostly to animals, Davies begins with "a tour of poop" that illustrates the wide variety of feces. (Again, thankfully, this is done with illustrations, not photographs.) She then goes on to discuss how it's produced, what animals do with it (use it to identify other animals, track prey, consume it for nourishment), and what humans occasionally do with animal feces (build houses with it, use it for fuel). The very informative text uses humor but mostly plays it straight. The clever ink-and-watercolor cartoons go for big laughs, illustrating such things as why sheep release hard, dry pellets, while cows, well . . . don't. There are several pictures about animals eating their (and other animals') feces, but the picture with the baby elephant in his high chair--well, suffice it to say kids will love that one. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Adaena Hornstrom on October 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionables (Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2004), author Nicola Davies and illustrator Neal Layton explore the scientific wonders of feces-from their biological functions to the many different shapes and forms of excrement. Most of the subjects are animals, with a few references to human defecation.

Davies, who holds a degree in zoology, successfully tackles the arcane and often hush-hush topic with a mixture of humor and straightforward biology. For example, the appearance of whale poop is explained plainly: it looks like "giant blobs of strawberry ice cream breaking up in the water." The glossary at the end, though, offers vague definitions, at best. With that said, Davies has an ability for seamlessly combining the scientific terminology with colloquialisms. The words poop and feces are used interchangeably.

The book's second person "you" point-of-view speaks directly and gently to the audience. However, Davies may assume too much about her audience. She disregards non-Christian readers in describing the mistletoe "we use to decorate our homes at Christmas."

The product of many unconventional artistic mediums-including an old toothbrush and a cake-icing bag-Neal Layton's hilarious illustrations will stir up giggles from children and adults alike. Especially funny are the personifications of animals, with thought bubbles above their heads. Some actual photographs of some of the subjects would be helpful (their outward appearance, not their waste).

Obvious comparisons can be drawn between this and Susan Goodman's The Truth About Poop, illustrated by Elwood H. Smith, and The Scoop on Poop by Wayne Lynch.

Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionables is not a book for every youngster. The faint of heart or queasy of stomach need not read. Otherwise, this is a great book for a second to fifth grader interested in learning more about the brown stuff.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Real on April 14, 2008
Verified Purchase
Love the book.... my daughter loves the book... but the print is TOO SMALL.

I would highly recommend the larger version of the book... which compared to other books... is "mini" but the font is "normal". It's easier to read and for the little one to follow along. By the way... my eyes are 20/20 and I have no trouble reading anything... I can read the mini book... it's just too small. 5 STARS for the larger book. It's fun and both your child and YOU will learn a lot! ENJOY!

By the way... it says for 9 to 12 years old. My girl is 5 and LOVED IT! She found it completely entertaining and interesting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Birds do it. Bugs do it. Fish do it. Dogs and cats do it. Even you and I do it. So why not read a funny, fabulous, book about it.
Poop grabs your attention from the funny cartoons on the dust jacket to the smeary brown streaks on the inside covers.
Nicola Davies knows how to create a lure for that reluctant reader, to engage, entertain, and educate.
The young reader gets so caught up in the hilarious illustrations and the absorbing, fascinating text, that he doesn't even realize he's reading and learning effortlessly. And loving it.

I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages. Check out Extreme Animals also, another of the Nicola Davies gems.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Real on April 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got so tired of my 5 year old saying "poop". And giggling with her friends about "poop".

Then I found this book at the library. It was fun and educational.... did I mention fun? Anyway, now that my little one knows all about animals and poop... she finds the science of poop so interesting... that the giggling about poop is gone! (For now at least!)

The book is really intersting and engaging. I loved it too!

As did my Mom... who teaches 5th grade... she had me buy the book for school!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. King on August 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My three boy's ( 10,11,14) are no eager readers. So I'm in constant search for the unusual, different. We'll this is one of those booklets not to much to read and it is full of amazing information we never had thought about it,but worthy to know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By andymydear on January 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for my mother, as a gag-gift. She's a "poop talker", and I bought a few books, including "Everybody Poops". And this, it just happens to be fun AND educational. They all still sit in my mother's bathroom, but they're still adequate for bookshelves, if you're looking for a fun/interesting read, and aren't too poop-shy.
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Format: Paperback
Written towards children in grades 2-5, POOP: A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE UNMENTIONABLE by Nicola Davis is an entertaining book that, through a scientific viewpoint, explains just how interesting and marvelous feces really is. The book mainly tackles poop from the perspective of animals, but there are some references to people and their poop. The book explores the different shapes and colors of poop and why they look that way, why animals (including people) need to poop, what can be learned by examining poop, how poop decays, and how poop can be useful. The illustrations from Neal Layton that accompany the text provide a lot of additional humor to what some children might find as a disgusting subject. Everybody poops and although this book is full of it, it’s a very entertaining and educational book that many children will probably enjoy reading.
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