Where does it go?

posted in: Caren Trafford, Jade Oakley | 15

[Yes, here’s the poo post – if it’s not your sort of thing please ignore and come back later in the week when we’ll have left all toilet business behind. I really don’t want to offend anyone with this. If on the other hand you’re comfortable with talking about no. 2s (I hope that’s not just UK slang) then do read on! If you’ve arrived here as part of Nonfiction Monday, you have made it to the right place I promise.]

Photo: jronaldlee

Whilst Book Blogger Appreciation Week was on I was stuck at home potty training J. It’s all gone well but there has been much inspection of potty contents and lots of questions about where the said contents come from and go to. As luck would have it we found Where Does The Poo Go? by Caren Trafford, illustrated by Jade Oakley in one of our local charity shops. We snapped it up and have been enjoying it (honest!) ever since.

I can pretty much promise you that this book will make you and your kids giggle whilst you learn fascinating new things about history, medicine and recycling. Starting with the oldest known poos (some of which, we learn, are now classified as gemstones), this jam-packed book takes you on a journey through to the modern day, investigating the development of toilets, sewerage systems, the use of poo as fertiliser and the link between poos, germs and health.

It’s written in a lighthearted, conversational manner, (but never descends to the level of crude toilet humour, despite the matter in hand!), pitched perfectly for kids who like a little bit of yuckiness but not too much. The fun and intrigue generated by facts such as what materials are traditionally used for toilet paper around the world, or the number of people who are hospitalised each year in Paris after slipping on dog poo turn this book into a real page turner whilst the illustrations raise further smiles (accompanied by just the slightest turnings of the stomach). The use of brown watercolours for illustrating the poos is really rather genius!

Although probably aimed at kids of M’s age and older, J has loved pouring over the illustrations whilst sat on the potty. The detail, colour and humour kept her (and me) coming back to this book time and time again.

When it came to doing something creative inspired by Where Does The Poo Go? I did think about having a sweetcorn race (everyone in the family eat some and see whose reappears first…), and about making chocolate meringues with the girls (no prizes for guessing what the would look like), but in the end I decided to make use of the zillions of toilet rolls we’re now accumulating in lieu of using nappies. There’s a great round up of toilet roll crafts on Crafty Crow and we tried our hands at a few of the ones we liked the look of best.

First we tried painting with toilet rolls, inspired by the instructions from Kids Craft Weekly.

The girls were quite surprised – “Where are they paintbrushes?”, and the level of control required was too much for J to control the flow of paint (and so she got a little frustrated), but M quickly got the hang of it and created some lovely pictures.

Next we made dolls, using fabric and fibre scraps (a very special thanks here to my talented and generous sister for all her fibre cast-offs). This was a big hit with the girls, and since we have just finished reading The Dolls House by Rumer Godden, the girls very quickly created their own Apple, Darner, Marchpane, Tottie, Birdie and Mr Plantagenet.

Finally we used the toilet rolls to create some vehicles for the dolls to zoom around in.

We used straws for axles, cotton and ribbon reels for wheels and bits of plasticine to keep the wheels on the axles.

Where Does The Poo Go?: ** (boosted to *** when you’re potty training!)

We’ve still got plenty of cardboard rolls left so I suspect we’ll try several more of the crafts Cassi suggests over the next few days.

Whilst we were playing with our cardboard rolls we listened to:

  • OK, Toilet Bowl by Steve-n-steveN, which you can hear on their Myspace page
  • The Poopsmith Song by Over the Rhine, which you can hear here on YouTube
  • I stepped in Dog Do by Thaddeus Rex, which you can hear at T-Rex’s webpage.

  • Other activities which could be fun alongside reading Where Does The Poo Go? include:

  • Denver Zoo’s Whose Poo? game
  • Making your own Roman aqueduct
  • Keeping our fingers crossed we’ll be able to watch this kids’ programme from the BBC about the science of farting again – it was excellent!

  • Finally, just in case you want some more books about poo, I don’t hesitate in recommending The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business by Werner Holzwarth and Wolf Erlbruch (which gets double points as it’s a kids’ book in translation), and also Poo: A Natural History of the Unmentionable by Nicola Davies and Neal Layton, which I orginally discovered thanks to this mention by Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect.

    Today’s post is part of Nonfiction Monday, hosted by Wendie at Wendie’s Wanderings. Why not see what other great books are being reviewed today?

    If you’d like to take part in my picture book swap – Perfect Picture Books by Post – please click here to find out everything you’ll need to know to join in!

    15 Responses

    1. Zoe

      Thanks Choxbox! I think J feels pretty creative herself every time she fills the potty πŸ™‚

    2. Sam

      I shudder to think that this will soon be my life, but the book looks fantastic in a sort of horrifying way, and I just love the toilet paper roll painting. πŸ™‚

    3. Janelle

      Can I send my little guy on over to your house? He’s just not interested in potty training. I reviewed a poo themed book this week, too for older kids: The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition.

    4. Zoe @ Playing by the book

      Hi Sam – the toilet roll painting would definitely be great to try with slightly older children – the slinky style effect (clearest in the middle of the blue picture) is very neat. If you do try it, use the thickest paint you’ve got.

      Hi Wonder Mom – yes, a book good for making you squirm and giggle – and if you like the sound of this one, you should definitely check out the one reviewed by Janelle – see her comment just below yours.

    5. Willow

      Love the photos of your little ones–so cute! And yes, we say number two in the US, too. In fact, in grade school (which was many years ago) if we needed to go to the bathroom, we had to raise our hands, showing one finger or two!

    6. Zoe

      Hi Kate, don’t they just! Thanks SO much πŸ™‚

      Hi Willow, love the bit of cultural info – made me smile!

    7. kellyi

      PS – I’ve signed up for the swap and would like to put your button on my blog if that’s OK – let me know x

    8. Zoe

      Hi Kellyi, no, haven’t read it yet, though it’s good to be reminded of it. Shall definitely track down a copy at the library! And yes, please use a swap button if you like on your blog – much appreciated.

    9. Zoe

      Lovely to have you comment here for the first time Mellisa – it’s much appreciated πŸ™‚

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