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POOP HAPPENED! by Sarah Albee


A History of the World from the Bottom Up

by Sarah Albee & illustrated by Robert Leighton

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8027-2077-1
Publisher: Walker

Readers who enjoy all things gross will find this foray into fecal history most appealing. Albee conversationally explores how the need for efficient sanitation grew with expanding and more concentrated populations. Beginning with the Roman Empire and its amazing feats of plumbing, the book chronicles the evolution of waste disposal in Western civilization. The author offers many stomach-churning details in the text as well as in sidebars about using urine to launder clothes and tan hides, horrible “filth” diseases, revolting hygiene practices and disgusting waste-related occupations. Her penchant for punny chapter titles such as “The Origin of Feces” and “The Age of Shovelry” will elicit groans from adults but will resonate with kids (when they do not go over their heads). The purple-and-green pages feature Leighton’s cartoon illustrations, which complement the playful tone of the text. The subject has been explored elsewhere, but this book’s approach is more cultural and historical than scientific. (source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)