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Poo Face

By Andrew Daddo and Jonathan Bentley
Reviewed by Lara Cain Gray
Everyone has a poo face, according to this new release from picture book stalwarts Andrew Daddo and Jonathan Bentley. ‘We’ve all got one because we all do one. Every day.’ The immediate appeal of this book for young readers will obviously be the cheekiness of the title, but it does include some fun facts about the natural world and will be terrific for potty training toddlers.
The cover image sets us up for the journey with a young child sitting on the potty facing a dog who hovers above a recent expulsion. They smile at each other, while toilet paper rolls past the child, and a dung beetle settles under the dog. We see that poo is something that happens throughout the natural world, and humans have particular ways of dealing with it.
The child of the cover is also the narrator, walking us through the poo face examples with the potty under their arm and a worldly look in their eye. Our sage guide tells us that dogs circle and sniff for the perfect spot, whilst birds aim from on high. Lions have a ferocious poo face, whilst elephants have more of a get-out-of-my-way face. Every child has a different poo face – and sometimes poo faces can depend on the poo! The overall message is to demystify and normalise the process and the potty.
Whilst ‘gross out’ humour is a common engagement device for young readers, focussing on facial expressions in this case actually avoids the need to focus on the poo, particularly in the illustrations which are hilariously wild. Additionally, the emphasis on animal facts allows the child to lead the conversation about how everything works without didactic interventions from an adult. The final wordless page shows our hero sitting contentedly on the potty with a quietly calm poo face – a reassuring end to the narrative journey.
Puffin Books 2023
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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