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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

The Boy Who Cried Poo! by Alessandra RequenaI, illustrated by Guilherme Karsten

What kid can resist a book that has ‘poo’ in the title? Just reading the title aloud elicited merry farting sound effects from my 10-year-old.

Parents will feel the pain of the dad who, having descended 168 steps of the holiday apartment building to access the pool, is then informed by his toddler, Marc, that he needs to poo. But once Dad has carted Marc, Marc’s older sister and their gear all the way back up to the apartment, it turns out Marc doesn’t need to poo anymore.

So, back down to the pool once more, still hoping to score a sun lounger. And whaddya know… Marc feels the urge to poo again. So the whānau schlep back upstairs, Dad now cracking out a sweat. And again… Marc sits on the loo, but doesn’t poo. They go back to the pool and guess what… it happens a third time.

But by now, dad has lost the will to live. Just hold it in, he tells his son. And Marc… cannot. The shame is written all over his face. (A simple yet wonderfully effective expression by the illustrator, whose bright cartoons are the perfect foil for this awful situation.)

Fortunately for Marc, his predicament elicits sympathy from his fellow pool-goers who confess, in turns, of their own poo-related mishaps.

Unlike the original parable where a boy lies about a wolf, there’s no moral to this story, but reading it is a great way to reassure kids who suffer any similar kinds of embarrassing situations in public. Also, hats off to the book designer, as the words jump off the page: “splash!” emerges straight from the pool, “DAD” I HAVE TO POO!” is large and capitalised, the word “sinker” slinks down shamefully into the pool; “Up, up, up” go up the page and vice versa for “down, down, down” - plus there’s a fun double-page spread of a flight of stairs that requires you to flip the book sideways.

Reviewer: Stacey Anyan

Allen & Unwin


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