Review Blog

Feb 14 2016

Who's had a poo? And lots of other questions by Anton Poitier

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Ill. by Tracy Cottingham. The Five Mile Press, 2016, ISBN 9781760400781
(Ages: 3-5) This 'spot the difference' book is quite a unique concept, but it does not seem as well thought out as it could be. Each spread features the same animals but on each page one or more of the animals have moved or been altered and the reader is asked to spot the difference/s. The target audience of pre-schoolers are asked to spot such things as 'who is splashing water around?', 'who is now upside down?' and 'who is taking a nap?'. Some of the questions require the reader to compare a page with the previous one, for example when looking at which animals have swapped places or changed colour. Some require more analytical skills, such as 'who is ready for lunch?' which requires the reader to infer meaning from the animals' behaviour (for example, the panda is holding bamboo and the duck is diving down into the water). Others provide humour, such as 'who's done a poo?' which is sure to make pre-schoolers giggle.
The beauty of this book is the opportunity it provides to kick-start conversations between adult and child. It asks the reader to investigate each page closely and in some parts to make some inferences from what they see. Parents who use the book well will help children develop their analytical skills by discussing how they know the dog is ready to play or what makes the crocodile look fierce. However, it is a little limited in allowing this as on some pages there is only one animal that has moved or changed. For example, in 'who's showing off?' only the peacock is showing off as he has his feathers spread; the other animals are unchanged. In addition, some other questions are very simplistic (eg. 'who's had a baby?' and 'who's found a friend?').
This will work well as a one on one shared activity with parent and child rather than as a group read-aloud or for independent perusal. Some children may tire of this quickly after they already know the answers, while others may enjoy repeat readings.
Nicole Nelson

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