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World of Poo by Terry Pratchett

World of Poo on Random House websiteA review by Nalini Haynes

★★★★☆ four out of five stars

The World of Poo is a book that Young Sam, Sam Grimes’s son, absolutely loves. It’s an incursive Discworld loop, cross-referencing until you see mirrors reflecting into mirrors…

The World of Poo is a treasure. It’s a contemporary book packaged like an olde worlde book with cloth-bound hardcover, gold lettering and a pen-and-ink drawing positioned somewhat like in a photo album. The light-weight book’s textured cover sends tingles of anticipation through one’s fingers when opening the pages. Beautifully marbled end-papers greet the careful reader, leading in to creamy pages giving off that old-book smell already (or is that my imagination?). Pen-and-ink illustrations are scattered throughout the book as are some Pratchett-esque footnotes in smaller print with even more verbose language.

Geoffrey is sent to his Grand-mama’s house in Ankh-Morpork while his mother prepares for An Event. Geoffrey develops an interest in poo of all kinds and begins his own poo collection.

While most stories omit mention of bodily functions in favour of eating and drinking, the World of Poo is more likely to omit mention of eating and drinking in favour of trips to the toilet and descriptions of various kinds of lavatories and water closets.

The washing of hands is emphasised throughout the book, increasingly so as Geoffrey works on his poo collection.

Many references are made to known Discworld characters. I suspect Geoffrey’s Grand-mama is one although I couldn’t place her. Part of the fun for older readers is connecting the dots.

The use of language in the World of Pooh is far too complex to be read by the young audience for whom the book is (allegedly) written. This novel is best read to children, the dual layers increasing enjoyment for both generations. As a shared reading experience, children’s vocabulary can be expanded while entertaining.

The World of Poo introduces young audiences to Discworld before starting on the TV series, the telemovies, the Tiffany Aching children/YA novels before embarking on the ‘adult’ Discworld series.

I enjoyed the World of Poo and suspect I would have enjoyed it even more if I had a child of maybe two to eight years to share it with. Highly recommended.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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