Toilet: How It Works

Toilet: How It Works

by David Macaulay, Sheila Keenan
     
 

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Celebrated author-illustrator and master explainer David Macaulay brings his unique voice and style to high-interest nonfiction books for newly independent readers.
Everyone knows what a toilet is for, right? But what exactly happens after you flush? Where does our waste go, and how is it made safe? With his unique blend of informative text and illustration,

Overview

Celebrated author-illustrator and master explainer David Macaulay brings his unique voice and style to high-interest nonfiction books for newly independent readers.
Everyone knows what a toilet is for, right? But what exactly happens after you flush? Where does our waste go, and how is it made safe? With his unique blend of informative text and illustration, David Macaulay takes readers on a tour of the bathroom, plumbing, and the sewer system, from the familiar family toilet to the mysterious municipal water treatment plant.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Chelsea Couillard-Smith
Everyone knows what a toilet is for, but how does it actually work? In this accessible early reader, Macaulay follows the path of human waste from the basics of the digestive system to the mechanics of the toilet itself and finally through the process of wastewater treatment. Along the way, readers learn about the differences between septic systems and city sewers, and will come to understand the importance of water purification as it relates to the environment. Macaulay’s explanations employ relatively simple language while introducing important technical and scientific vocabulary. Throughout, his characteristically detailed illustrations reinforce the textual explanations through clearly labeled diagrams, including arrows, and human figures to offer a sense of proportion. Small moments of visual and textual humor, such as chatty bacteria commenting on their situation, provide interest for young readers beyond the gross-out subject matter. The relatively complex vocabulary and sentence structure along with the technical aspects of the topic make this most appropriate for early elementary students already somewhat familiar with early science concepts. A glossary of “Words to Know” defines the more challenging vocabulary words, and an index is also included. Overall, Macaulay’s understanding of child interests and attention to detail make this a high-quality addition to most collections, ideal for curious young readers just beginning to explore nonfiction topics independently. Reviewer: Chelsea Couillard-Smith; Ages 7 to 9.
School Library Journal
★ 10/01/2013
Gr 2–5—A unique nonfiction offering that deals with human waste in a way that most other books have not. The topic of toilets could go in many directions, and this book addresses a number of them. Readers learn the biology of why people need to use a toilet, how it flushes, and where the waste ends up. Ever wonder how septic systems and sewers work? Look no further. Overall, this is an informative look at a technology that everyone uses and most people take for granted. At every step of the way, Macaulay's engaging ink and watercolor illustrations and cutaway diagrams help to explain the text. This is a challenging read full of sophisticated and specific vocabulary, yet it is one that inquisitive youngsters and science-oriented kids will be drawn to. A boon to those looking to beef up informational offerings to meet Common Core standards.—Trina Bolfing, Westbank Libraries, Austin, TX
From the Publisher

“In his signature squiggly style, Macaulay pulls back the curtain to show just how it all goes down(so to speak).” —Booklist

“*A perfect blend of humor and clarity--in text and in artwork--explains the anatomy of human waste, the mechanics of a flush toilet and the subsequent treatment of waste in septic and sewer systems.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“*A unique nonfiction offering that deals with human waste in a way that most other books have not. . .A boon to those looking to beef up informational offerings to meet Common Core standards.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Macaulay reminds readers that while such language is precise, it can also be lively.” —The Horn Book

Kirkus Reviews
A perfect blend of humor and clarity--in text and in artwork--explains the anatomy of human waste, the mechanics of a flush toilet and the subsequent treatment of waste in septic and sewer systems. Cartoony images of three toilet bowls--one being used by a thirsty, shaggy dog, one surrounded by a somber family with a dead pet goldfish, and one heaped with flowers, shown outside a home--adorn the first page of the book, along with this opening sentence: "Everybody knows what a toilet is for." Genius Macaulay, with Keenan's (unspecified) assistance, continues this tongue-in-cheek romp with clever drawings as he also carefully discusses such scientific facts as the function of bacteria in breaking down waste; the physics behind the tank, the bowl and the siphon; and the role of wastewater treatment plants in the overall water cycle. Cutaway views aid in showing exactly how various systems work, while unique visual angles of everything from human organs topped with eyeglasses to a bird's-eye view of a bustling city encourage viewers to venture beyond reading literacy to art appreciation. Even readers who received fastidious toilet training and admonitions against potty humor will let down their guard and find this book both informative and entertaining. (glossary, resources, index, author's notes) (Informational early reader. 7 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596437807
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
09/10/2013
Series:
My Readers Series, #3
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile:
AD740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

David Macaulay received his bachelor of architecture degree from Rhode Island School of Design. In January 1973, Macaulay went to France to work on the first of his twenty-five books, Cathedral. He then constructed a colonial Roman town (City, 1974), erected monuments to the Pharaohs (Pyramid, 1975), dissected the maze of subterranean systems below and essential to every major city (Underground, 1976), built a medieval fortress (Castle, 1977), and dismantled the Empire State Building (Unbuilding, 1980). Macaulay is perhaps best known for The Way Things Work (1988). It was followed by Black and White (1990) for which he won the 1991 Caldecott Medal. A revised edition of The Way Things Work was published in 1998 followed by Building Big, Mosque, and The Way We Work (2008).

Sheila Keenan is an established author of fiction and nonfiction, including Greetings from the 50 States; Animals in the House: A History of Pets and People; O, Say Can You See? America's Symbols, Landmarks, and Inspiring Words; and Gods, Goddesses, and Monsters: A Book of World Mythology. Her work Dogs of War is a graphic novel of historical fiction based on the role of dogs in the military.

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