Get the Scoop on Animal Poop!


Praise for Get the Scoop on Animal Poop!

Kirkus Reviews

From bluebird and alpaca droppings to buffalo dung and termite frass, an upbeat guide to coprology, the study of feces.

Who knew that possums release a sticky green anal liquid when threatened, that some animals use defensive defecation to frighten predators, that moose poo makes good jewelry or that some animals practice coprophagia, or feces eating? If it’s possible for a nonfiction work to have too much information, this volume may be the case. But Cusick affects a compensatory subversive tone: This isn’t a work for squeamish adults; it’s for kids who supposedly delight in all things scatological, and they’re encouraged to “[j]ust hide the book in your backpack or your sock drawer and make sure [adults] don’t catch you grinning after you’ve been looking at it.” Who wouldn’t be grinning after reading about dung spiders that look like “a pile of poop,” plankton poo or the variations in color of Adélie penguin droppings? Rooted in a tremendous amount of research, as indicated by the two-page list of acknowledgments, this is a bright and inviting treatment of an unusual subject. Every page is packed with colorful photographs, and the text is an accumulation of snippets, a few sentences about each of the hundreds of topics. A browser’s delight.

So much information presented that readers may well be pooped when they finish. (further activities, glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 7-11)

NSTA (National Science Teacher's Association) Recommends
Reviewed by Eloise Farmer

Get the Scoop on Animal Poop!

This is a book that is sure to attract the attention of all who encounter it, and one that will surely be read by those who are curious to find out whether a usually taboo subject is really being addressed. The ways in which living things get rid of food waste is thoroughly addressed in every possible way, and reading this book can answer any question the reader might have about fecal material . Most adults who are not biologists will find the subject material gross but fascinating, and biologists themselves might find some of the information new and interesting as well.

Only those who study coprology (the study of feces) would probably be thoroughly knowledgeable about the information described in this book. There is a vocabulary list of terms used in the first part of the book that introduces the terminology used. In the sections throughout the book, the various ways animals use fecal material, including use as food, territorial marking, protection, camouflage, decoration, and nesting, are all explored. Photos of a variety of animals and their feces are found next to the descriptive text.The ecological impact of fecal material and how it fits into the cycles of life are discussed, including the use of manure as fertilizer and as fuel in many cultures. The way that the digestion of seeds often gets them ready to germinate is illustrated. Parasites and spread of disease through poor sanitation are described as well; many readers might be more likely to wash their hands after reading this frank discussion.

There are extra activities proposed at the end of the book for interested students, a glossary, and index, and a large list of contributors. This book would be of interest to readers from middle grades up. Teachers should be aware that there may be some reservations on the part of parents and administrators about the use of this book in the classroom, and teachers should read it themselves before deciding to use it. However, it is bound to get even the most reluctant reader to actually read a book.