A History of Toilet Paper (and Other Potty Tools)

Running Pr. Aug. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780762475551.
K-Gr 3–Gholz has found a topic that matters to every reader. She carefully traces the development of “potty tools” from the days of early humans to the present. Comical illustrations show Neanderthals in animal skins carrying leaves and early Mesopotamians emptying chamber pots. Readers will be particularly glad that the Roman custom of a communal tersorium (“bum brush”) is a thing of the past. Significant advances such as the invention of paper or the flushing toilet are explained and also shown in humorous fashion. While images show people from a variety of time periods with their potties, outhouses, and bidets, clothing discreetly conceals those using the facilities. The cover features a large roll of toilet paper with the Scott brothers perched on top and other characters posed nearby. Readers will appreciate a scene near the conclusion that shows a cave woman holding up a seashell and a modern mother holding out a roll of toilet paper, juxtaposing how far amenities have come. As Gholz points out, “Can you believe humans were around for more than 195,000 years before they invented something as simple as toilet paper?” Back matter includes a time line with thumbnail images, a glossary, selected bibliography, and author’s note.
VERDICT An engaging look at how various bathroom technology has changed over time; this is sure to appeal to the elementary school sense of humor.

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