What Do They Do with All That Poo?

by Jane Kurtz (Author) Allison Black (Illustrator)

What Do They Do with All That Poo?
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
Find out what happens to all of the poo at the zoo in this funny and factual picture book! There are so many different kinds of animals at the zoo, and they each make lots and lots (and sometimes LOTS!) of poo. So what do zoos do with all of that poo? This zany, fact-filled romp explores zoo poo, from cube-shaped wombat poo to white hyena scat, and all of the places it ends up, including in science labs and elephant-poo paper--even backyard gardens!


There's quite a lot here to digest. In a mix of rhymed general statements and, in smaller type, pithy prose explanations, Kurtz drops nuggets of information about what poop is, how the excrement of a dozen types of zoo animals differs in shape and composition, what said animals do with their poop in nature, and the many ways zoos (and gardeners) study and recycle all those tons of "zoo-doo." She closes with the provocative observation that more intelligent and socialized primates tend to fling their poop with more accuracy than their duller cohorts--as, perhaps, "a form of communication and self-expression." Reflecting what young readers will be doing by this point, Black illustrates the author's final sally with a troop of heartily laughing monkeys. In fact, all the creatures in these brightly colored cartoon illustrations, even the earthworms, are smiling. So are most of the notably diverse cast of human workers (a few pooper-scoopers look understandably beleaguered), as befits both the topic and the tone of this fresh scoop on poop. -- John Peters--Booklist "April 15, 2018"

Publishers Weekly

Kurtz (Planet Jupiter) playfully delves into the diversity of dung found at the zoo in her latest picture book. "A wombat's poo is cube-shaped, so it isn't very roly. / Some snakes poop only once a year. They digest their food sloooow-ly." Simple rhyming couplets deliver the facts, with accompanying sentences providing additional detail (e.g., "Wombats are highly territorial. They each deposit 80-100 droppings every evening as a signpost to say 'I'm here.' "). The first half of the book discusses how various creatures take care of back-end business, while the second describes how zoos manage all that manure (much of it is trucked to landfills, while some is composted into "Zoo Doo," among other things). The brightly colored, cartoon-style illustrations by Black (Barnyard Boogie!) add levity, as hippos grin, sloths smile, and bats beam. Poop of various sizes is buried, sniffed, squirted, weighed, and even thrown. Young readers going through a bathroom-humor stage should enjoy the topic and the book's light tone but, whether appreciative, awed, or grossed out, all will come away informed. Ages 3-8. (June)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--This nonfiction read-aloud for the younger set will have kids in giggles. Each page features rhyming text that describes a different animal's waste product, with more information at the bottom of the page. Kurtz also details exactly what zoos do with all that waste: take it to the dump, use it for research, or sell it as compost. The rhyming aspect makes this an excellent choice for preschool students. Insightful details about animal poop strike a smart balance between amusement and fact-based trivia (e.g., wombat poop is cube-shaped). Black's high-contrast, bouncy artwork accurately depicts the narrative and will enhance readers' understanding. The playful geometric digital illustrations pop with color and have a lot of kid appeal. Human characters appear only briefly. While not an in-depth study, kids will be having so much fun they won't notice they're learning. VERDICT A humorous addition to most nonfiction collections.--Richelle Rose, Kenton County Public Library, KY

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Jane Kurtz
Jane Kurtz lives in Portland, Oregon. She has written more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books for children, including Lanie and Lanie's Real Adventure from the American Girl Today series, Anna Was Here, and River Friendly, River Wild, a story in verse for which she received a Golden Kite Award. Visit her website at www.janekurtz.com. C. B. Canga has illustrated numerous early chapter books, including the Field Trip Mysteries by Steve Brezenoff. He lives in Pleasant Hill, California.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Beach Lane Books
Publication date
June 20, 2018
BISAC categories
JNF051150 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Zoology
JNF003200 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Zoos
JNF065000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Recycling & Green Living
Library of Congress categories
Animal behavior
Animal droppings
Habits and behvior

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