It’s time for a GSQ review and today’s book offers a fun, unusual brain-workout for littlies and their grown-ups, and surprisingly, doesn’t have much to do with poo but does have a lot to do with seeking, deducing and figuring out nifty visual clues. We received a copy of Who’s Had A Poo? (and lots of other questions) by Anton Poitier and Tracey Cottingham from the good folk at Five Mile Press – thanks! – and we will now subject it to the rigours of a Good, Sad and Quirky review!
Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
This amusing spot the difference book is entertaining and educational for pre-schoolers. Each spread features the same group of animals – with a twist. A question appears, prompting children to spot the difference.
Who’s splashing who? Who’s swapped places? The simple and fun questions featured throughout the book allow children to use their analytical skills of concentration, thinking and observation to provide the correct answers.
Cute and quirky illustrations of animals ensures children are interested, with the interactive game-like spot the difference nature of the book keeping them engaged.
Who’s Had A Poo? is one of those ideas that is a sure-fire winner for the simple reason that it engages kids by asking a pretty ordinary question and letting the kids do the detective work. The idea of the book is that children (and their grown ups) explore page spreads containing the same set of animals, with just one or two tiny differences on each page that relate to the question.
Here’s an example:
Can you spot who’s ready for lunch? What I love most about this type of search-and-find book is that it’s not as simple as just finding Wally (or Waldo, as our American friends know him), but it almost requires a conversation on the reasons a certain animal is chosen as fitting the particular question. For the page spread above, for instance, the panda is the obvious choice, but perhaps the duck could fit the bill as well (pun intended) – it depends on how well one can articulate one’s choice.
Apart from the sleuthing that is the book’s main focus, the bright, cheeky animal illustrations and the die-cut, peekaboo holes on the front cover are sure to draw in the mini punters for a rewarding reading experience.
And if you’re wondering whether this book is too advanced for the younger end of the picture book market, I took the trouble of testing it on the youngest mini-fleshling in the dwelling (two years old) and she loved it to bits. It’s quite surprising how children so young can use the visual cues to answer the question, even if they can’t articulate their reasoning exactly. This book was also fun for finding out which animals the mini-fleshlings knew – the peacock was a bit of challenge, the chameleon a new favourite, and all the rest that she didn’t know took on the mantle of “hippo”.
The only downside I can see with this book is the title. I’m afraid the reference to poo may be misleading and cause some parents and carers to bypass it, if they are averse to poo-based picture books (of which, we can all agree, there are many). Allow me to assure you that the book is NOT about poo – except for one page, that asks “Who’s had a poo?” and which both the mini-fleshlings found absolutely hilarious.
If this was the first book of this type that I had ever seen, I would be leaping around, shouting its praises from the rooftops. I still feel inclined to shout its praises, perhaps from a slightly lower vantage point but I actually stumbled across this concept late last year after a tip off from Read It Daddy, with their review of Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec. I immediately bought the book, given that I trust their judgement implicitly and so I and the mini-fleshlings were introduced to this concept of sleuthing for visual cues. Who Done It? is an exceptional book, but there are a number of differences between that and Who’s Had A Poo? and if I point these out, it might make deciding which one you’ll read first a little easier, based on your personal preference.
Firstly, Who’s Had A Poo? is your standard picture book format, while Who Done It? comes in a long, rectangular format that requires you to turn the pages by lifting them up. Who Done It? also features only eight or nine figures on each page, and these are different for each page spread leading to discrete questions and answers, whereas Who’s Had a Poo? has the same set of twenty-four animals on each page and some of the questions require the reader to turn back to the previous page to figure out the answer to the question. I was pretty stumped by the “Who’s swapped places?” page until I did a bit of judicious page-flicking, but the two-year-old picked “Who’s changed colour?” with nary a blink of the eye while I was left scratching my head for a bit.
The level of challenge in Who’s Had a Poo? also increases throughout the book, given that the questions have multiple answers as the book goes on. Where in the beginning only one animal might fit the criteria, towards the end some pages have up to six animals that fit the answer. This is great fun, and led to races between the mini-fleshlings to see who could spot all the creatures with the right characteristics. I, of course, am above such undignified behaviour.
I hope this book has piqued your interest. I must say, it is a search and find concept that I have taken to with great adoration and I hope that more books along this line make it to publication in the near future. Oh, and if you haven’t come across the Read It Daddy blog before, and you are a fan of children’s and middle grade titles, do yourself a favour and pop on over. You won’t be disappointed!
Until next time,