Talking about natural bodily functions and secretions can make some laugh, some squirm with embarrassment and others instantly curious.
So this book that looks at not just poo, but also spew, snot and all the other gross things animals do to survive and thrive is going to get a mixed reaction, initially, but hopefully lead to students understanding that these are all signs of a body working well and they will begin to appreciate them for what they are.
Whether it’s to use poo to build a nest, leaving stinky secretions to find a mate, or oozing slime to deter a predator, the animals and their habits featured in this book are not only fascinating but help us understand how our own bodies work.
Using a conversational style text directed at the reader, full-colour phots and illustrations and an appealing layout designed for independent readers, it respects their curiosity and intelligence by providing straightforward explanations of why bodies excrete various waste products but then extend on this to show how we learn about them from those substances, how they use them in their own daily survival and that of others as well as weird and wonderful facts like the Chines soft-shelled turtle that wees out its mouth or the origins of kopi luwak, a traditional Indonesian drink from coffee beans that have first “passed through the digestive system of the Asian palm civet cat.”
Interspersed are introductions to some of the scientists who earn their living be investigating these sorts of things so we know more about them and ourselves. But which of your students is sitting in class dreaming of immersing themselves in the wee, poo and rotting hairy skin of the elephant seals of Macquarie Island as Dr Jenny Scott does?
Comprehensive teachers’ notes are available offering discussion points and activities covering Science, English and Sustainability -the English one is focused on vocabulary building – to make this an even more valuable addition to the library’s collection.
Anyone who thinks that print non fiction is dead because “everything is on the Internet” hasn’t discovered CSIRO Publishing’s catalogue!