Storytime & Poop: Everyone poops by Taro Gomi

New favorite book alert! New favorite book alert! A has a new favorite book, and I’m loving it, too. I’ve done a mini-series on this blog called ‘Storytime & …”: Storytime & avoiding colorblindness, Storytime & decentralizing manhood, and Storytime & naming Whiteness. Well, today, we’re talking about Storytime & Poop.

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My husband went to a library book sale (the kind when all of the old books are 25 cents), and came back with Taro Gomi’s Everyone Poops. It’s literally a book about pooping, complete with illustrations of turds hanging out of people’s butts. And animals’ butts. To be fair, I think that’s part of the reason A likes it: there are lots of animals. There are one-hump camels pooping; two-hump camels pooping; gorillas, pigs, pelicans, and bugs pooping. As the book says, “all living things eat, so everyone poops.”

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On Thursday morning, as I was reading the book to him (trying to calm him down because he woke up in a FOUL mood), we got to a page when it talked about how “different animals make different kinds of poop. Different shapes, different colors, and even different smells.” At that last part, he wrinkled up his nose and pretended to sniff the book, then he turned and grinned at me. This is one of the things that makes this book great: it teaches A about his body. About how he uses his nose to smells things. About how pooping is natural part of being a human. And ultimately, about how he is a biological creature that has autonomy over his own body. I’m not sure if this is a chicken-egg scenario, but since his obsession with this book started, he’s even started telling us when he’s trying to poop or just pooped. That might just be a coincidence, but it also might not be (every parent thinks their kid is a prodigy, right?? Maybe mine’s a pooping prodigy!).

The author is Japanese and draws characters that are Japanese. I haven’t been explicit about talking about race in this book with A. That’s something I can add into our conversations in the future.

The one social observation I have made to A about this book regards gender (and it’s my only critique of the book). All of the humans in the book are male. They have male genitalia and/or have clear cultural symbols that represent manhood. None of the animals are gendered, but given what we know about the centralizing of manhood, many readers may refer to the animals as male (though maybe that’s not true in Japanese culture). Since we are reading it from an American perspective, though, I want to be very explicit with A: GIRLS POOP, TOO! Here’s an example of something I have said to him while reading this book:

That little boy is pooping. All the people in this book are boys actually. But girls poop, too! Mommy poops sometimes.

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Happy wiping (and pooping?),

Olivia

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