Whose Poop Is That?
Darrin Lunde, author
Darrin Lunde is the collection manager in the Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. He's written several books for children, including Whose Footprint is That? and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor book Hello, Bumblebee Bat, as well as Hello, Baby Beluga, and Meet the Meerkat. Darrin lives near Washington, DC.
Kelsey Oseid, illustrator
Kelsey Oseid illustrated Whose Poop is That? She works in both traditional and digital mediums and often mixes the two to create her illustrations. Kelsey lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- 2018 A Baker’s Dozen: The Best Children’s Books for Family Literacy
Owl pellets, coprolites, bird droppings, and honking big turds—whose waste is that? Lunde uses a question-and-answer format to show how animal droppings vary and how they relate to animals' diets. This picture book may seem slight, covering only seven animals (fox, African elephant, panda, owl, Galápagos tortoise, gull, and the extinct ground sloth), but it reflects a careful choice of examples demonstrating the wide variety of animal diets, eating styles, and defecation habits. Four pages are devoted to each animal. The first double-page spread shows a series of footprints and a mysterious object, asks the title question (or a variant), and describes the object. The page turn reveals the animal, pictured in its habitat. A short paragraph tells why the poop contains what readers see. Feces fans can find further information in two pages of backmatter, "The Scoop on Poop" and "Animal Poop Facts." Oseid's illustrations, done in pen and ink and colored digitally, have shadows suggesting the three-dimensionality of the droppings and pleasing, soothing color choices. For a younger audience than most recent titles about animal excrement, this might make a nice pair with Taro Gomi's classic Everyone Poops (2001). A primer on poop and a guessing game, especially for those just beyond toilet training.
Publishers WeeklyGuess the poop! Repeating the question of the title, Lunde and Oseid ask readers to identify six kinds of animal scat (plus an owl pellet), providing images of the droppings, animal tracks, and brief descriptions as clues. "Whose poop is that? It has a bunch of splinters in it," Lunde asks, opposite what looks like a pile of pickles. The answer: a panda. "A panda eats mostly bamboo," he continues. "A panda has to spend most of its day eating in order to get enough energy." In unflashy, mixed-media artwork, Oseid highlights animals that include a red fox, African elephant, Galápagos tortoise, and gull, as well as their environments. Gross-out details will provoke glee ("A rabbit sometimes eats its poop in order to digest its food twice") but kids will learn plenty about the variety and importance of animal waste, too.
The can-you-guess format, so often put to engaging effect in science-focused picture books, works well here in an introductory brainteaser on animal droppings. Each bit of scat gets a four-page spread: the titular question, with animal tracks; the, ahem, main event, with a brief description (“It has bits of bone and a tuft of fur in it”); and a full-bleed spread with the animal and an explanation of how its poop came by its unique composition (“A red fox eats small mammals and birds. It crunches their bones and swallows their fur or feathers”). Though inconsistent scale and oversimplification of the footprints often put guessers at a disadvantage, pictures are sufficiently simplified and stylized to help viewers focus on the essentials. The succinct text, in slightly oversized sans serif font, makes this as accessible to newly independent readers as it is to younger listeners, and everyone with an interest in the unflushed will be intrigued by the back end matter (pun fully intended)—bullet- pointed “The Scoop on Poop” and “Animal Poop Facts.”
School Library Journal
Giggles, gasps, and guffaws will surely follow when a book about poop is discovered on the library shelf. A wide variety of poo is tackled, from elephants' to pandas', all accompanied by the question, "Whose poop is that?" Readers are urged to study the pen-and-ink drawings with computerized coloration to guess which animal the droppings come from. Clues come in the form of bits of identifiable food. For instance, the panda's droppings contain bamboo splinters. The soft illustrations enhance the featured food fibers, and the text departs from the routine with a spread on the fossilized poop of an extinct ground slot and one that asks, "Is that poop?" in reference to an owl pellet. Additional facts about poop and notable animal waste ("Wombat poop is square!) are provided in the end pages. Silly but educational, this selection gets readers to realize that much can be learned through observation when out on a nature walk. VERDICT Sure to appeal to curious youngsters. Recommended for collections that can't get enough titles on poop.
This picture book delivers exactly what its title promises—an examination of excrement, which also reveals a little something about the animal that left it behind. An opening two-page spread pairs the question "Whose poop is that?" with an illustration and description of a particular dropping. This sample might contain twigs and stems, old leaves, or bones and fur, for example. Once readers turn the page, the answer is revealed, along with some facts about the poop or the animal's diet. Whose poo is full of splinters? A panda's, due to its constant bamboo munching. Oseid's pen-and-ink illustrations are digitally colored, giving clear yet stylized renderings of the seven animals and droppings in question, including coprolite (fossilized dung) and one trick poop (what is it really?!). A final spread gives bulleted "Scoop on Poop" and "Animal Poop Facts" lists for more detailed information. The kid-friendly illustrations and matter-of-fact tone make this title an informative, rather than a gross-out, pick, though is certainly what will get kids reaching for the shelves.
The Horn Book
Although animals in nature can most readily be identified by sight, evidence of their presence can also be found in the scat they leave behind. Lunde leverages children’s fascination with poop to introduce how these identifications are made. In a series of four-page sequences, the title question is asked: “Whose poop is that?” alongside a facing, up-close illustration of animal scat and a sentence pointing out key features. Turn the page, and the animal is revealed, along with brief additional information. For example: “Whose poop is that? / It has bits of bone and a tuft of fur in it. // A red fox’s. / A red fox eats small mammals and birds. It crunches their bones and swallows their fur or feathers.” Others include a panda, gull, and even the fossilized scat of the extinct ground sloth; one of the sequences breaks the pattern somewhat with a slightly different question (“Is that a poop?”) to feature a regurgitated owl pellet. Both the text and digitally colored pen-and-ink illustrations appear simpler than they are: they are accurate, and include just enough detail to highlight the keys to identification while remaining friendly and inviting to novice naturalists. A spread of additional bulleted facts is appended.
DUNG, DOO–DOO, SCAT, GUANO. However you say it, it’s all “poop”. But what’s so fascinating about it? Why are so many people intrigued about this natural process? Utilizing carefully selected animals in a question–answer format, author Darrin Lunde challenges our animal droppings IQ in his latest book, Whose Poop is That?. Highlighting the animal’s diet using interesting facts, animal tracks, and visual clues, you can guess what the animal may be or just turn the page to find out. From one–foot–high poop, cubed–shaped poop, and the bird that makes a nest out of poop, it’s all gross, but cool! The scientific facts are presented in an engaging way for young readers to understand and want to know more about it. So what are you waiting for? Come get the “scoop on poop”!
ISBN: 978-1-60734-880-1 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-60734-881-8 PDF
Page count: 32
10 x 7
Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Informational. Grade K. Standards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Informational. Grade 1. Standards 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10