After the scatalogical (poo) books post was published, several people asked fun (and serious) questions about the subject. So I thought I'd expand on what was written earlier.
Why poo books? Because poo is funny! Especially if you’re developing a sense of humour and trying to understand how bodies work and how society works.
It’s taboo but harmless, gross but universal and embarrassing but safe.
Embarrassment is such a strong emotion that it can lead to all sorts of other emotions and then on to actions that can be counter productive. For example, what starts out as embarrassment can quickly escalate into anger and then into physical violence.
So it's helpful to play with the notion of embarrassment and especially to associate embarrassment with humour - poo jokes help with that. Likewise, taboo topics really do need to be explored. And poo jokes help to do so safely.
It’s not a bad thing for a child to realise that there are times and places to discuss things - but that everything is open to discussion at some point.
The universality of poo is also endlessly fascinating to kids of all ages. It’s unifying, humbling and humanising. There’s a certain ‘reality’ to books about poo – it’s one of our baser functions after all. And I have found that there’s not much point in trying to pretend it’s not downright funny!
You might like this bit of insight into the ‘why’ of funny poo books: Bums, poos and wees: Carnivalesque spaces in the picture books of early childhood. Or, has literature gone to the dogs?