Reviews for Flush : The Scoop on Poop Throughout the Ages


Booklist Reviews 2007 January #1
Harper's picture-book overview of the evolution of excrement disposal--from the invention of toilets "over 10,000 years ago" to toilets in space--has everything some kids delight in: shock value, weird facts, and gross-out references. It's also a fascinating book, made cheerful by Harper's acrylic-and-collage illustrations. The material is organized in two-page chapters: on the left is a rhyming text; on the right are a full-color illustration and "Fun Facts" (often the best bits in the book) that run down the right margin. Readers will discover the uses of urine, read about Louis XIV's habit of holding meetings on a toilet shaped as a throne, learn that Elizabeth I rejected the first mechanical toilet, and more. Yucky? You bet . . . but this information will draw lots of comments in and out of the classroom. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
In thirteen poems, Harper skims the history of human waste, bringing all manner of sanitation-related tidbits to the surface. The entertaining verses shed light on such crowd-pleasing topics as "Uses of Urine," "Before Toilet Paper," and "Toilets of the World." With their Kalman-esque color combinations, Harper's collage paintings help set the tone and, like the poems, are both irreverent and edifying. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Spring
In thirteen poems, Harper skims the history of human waste, bringing all manner of sanitation-related tidbits to the surface. The entertaining verses shed light on such crowd-pleasing topics as "Uses of Urine," "Before Toilet Paper," and "Toilets of the World." With their Kalman-esque color combinations, Harper's collage paintings help set the tone and, like the poems, are both irreverent and edifying. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #2
In thirteen poems, intrepid author-illustrator Harper skims the history of human waste, bringing all manner of sanitation-related tidbits to the surface. The entertaining verses shed light on such crowd-pleasing topics as "Uses of Urine," "Before Toilet Paper," and "Toilets of the World" and span in time from "The First Toilets (8000 bc)" to "Toilets in Space." With their Kalman-esque color combinations, Harper's engaging, idiosyncratic collage paintings help set the tone and, like the poems, manage to be both irreverent and edifying. The righthand page of each double-page spread includes a "Fun Facts" sidebar with additional informative details (e.g., "The average person uses about 20,805 sheets of toilet tissue a year"). Not intended to be a comprehensive look at the subject, this book instead offers a random collection of toilet trivia. The whole is a lot of fun and sure to move off the shelves, but the book's lack of sources and inconsistently identified time periods and places may frustrate those interested in unearthing more about the subject. The verses' rhythm occasionally falters, but kids won't mind when they can impress their friends with pearls like this about ancient Rome: "Bottoms were cleaned / with a sponge on a stick. / Kept in a pail of water, / it seemed to do the trick." Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 January #2
"What, you ask, is a chamber pot? / Well, here are things that it is not. / It's not a pot to keep your money, / pretty flowers, toys, or honey." Delivering juicy nuggets of cultural and historical information, both in fluent verse and in running prose commentary, this child-riveting study wipes Nicola A. Davies's The Truth about Poop, illus by Elwood H. Smith (2004), off the map. Harper opens with a tally of the uses to which urine has been put worldwide (surrounded by "Don't try this at home" warnings), closes with a rousing, gleefully repetitive paean to poop and spreads piquant observations on toilet paper's predecessors, waste disposal through history and like topics in between. She illustrates it all with discreetly posed, Maira Kalman-style figures rendered in decidedly un-sludgy colors. Young listeners plunging into this savory survey will come away with tasty new words like "gongfermor" and "garderobe," plenty of eminently share-worthy facts (Rome's Cloaca Maxima is 16 feet wide, which is "43 sandwiches long / if you lay them side by side") and sore cheeks--the facial sort--from laughing. (Picture book/poetry/nonfiction. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Review 2006 September

Gr 2-4 In rhyming verse supplemented by entertaining sidebars, this snappy title gives a tour of the history of human waste. The poems, heavy on potty humor and gross details, take readers on a journey from the time before toilet paper and the very first toilets (8000 B.C.) to those of today, including the kinds that astronauts use. While the rhyme scheme is a little inconsistent, each poem is so full of interesting trivia that readers will hardly notice. This title will make kids really think about the realities of one of their favorite subjects. Colorful cartoons punctuate the text while also adding to the silliness. Unfortunately, the last poem offers a weak conclusion to the slightly more sophisticated bathroom humor of the previous rhymes (“Let’s do it all together./Not a whisper, give a shout:/'POOPY! POOPY! POOPY!/is what this book’s about!’” Still, kids will enjoy this quick and informative read, and it will work well when paired with Susan E. Goodman’s The Truth about Poop (Viking, 2004) and Patricia Lauber’s What You Never Knew about Tubs, Toilets, and Showers (S & S, 2001).Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA

[Page 192]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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