________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 16 . . . . April 12, 2002

cover The Scoop on Poop!: The Fascinating Science of How Animals Use Poop.

Wayne Lynch.
Calgary, AB: Fifth House/Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2001.
32 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 1-894004-59-0.

Subject Headings:
Feces-Juvenile literature.
Animal behavior-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Janet Delgatty.

**** /4

excerpt: image

Many of you will have seen the dry, round droppings that rabbits leave on the ground when they have been feeding in your family's garden or flower bushes. Rabbits also produce a second kind of poop that is soft, moist, and covered with slime. These droppings never hit the ground. The rabbit puts its head between its legs and eats the droppings as soon as they come out its rear. It swallows the soft poop whole, without chewing it. The poop travels through the animal's intestine a second time. By recycling its poop the rabbit gets as much goodness as it can out of its food. The second time around the rabbit poops the dry round pellets I talked about earlier.

This is a great book. Lynch introduces readers to the science of scat, the purpose of poop, the meaning of manure. No wait, now I sound like the book!

     This is a lively, funny, factual presentation. Clear colour photographs abound on every page. It's a slim paperbound volume that might get lost on your shelves, but one which will be checked out within minutes of a face out display. It is that rare and delightful mix that could serve equally well for classroom support or for recreational reading.

     Lynch provides an overview rather than an in-depth examination of the subject, touching on the nature and use of the excrement of birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. He usually identifies the specific animal under discussion, e.g. African elephant, Chinstrap penguin, Arctic hare. Similarly, photos are well captioned - it's not any old deer, it's a White-tailed deer in southern Saskatchewan.

     Lynch's writing style is clear, light, and conveys lots of information, almost on the sly. His sense of humour is pervasive, and he includes several personal anecdotes. It's the kind of learning where readers think they're just having fun.

     The book is organized into 4 short chapters: "Poop is Fascinating Stuff . . . Really," "Poop Tarts," "The Power of Poop," and "People and Poop." A photo match up quiz offers a chance to match species with their scat. There is an index.

     Dr. Wayne Lynch is a photographer and science writer based in Calgary and is the author of over a dozen books for adults and children including Whose Feet are These?, Arctic Alphabet, and Penguins.

Highly recommended.

Janet Delgatty is Collections Librarian - Children's Services with Vancouver Island Regional Library, based in Nanaimo, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364