This month we have some very funny books about poo. While poo jokes do get a bit tiresome when you’re hearing them every day, they’re also a useful and important developmental stage. The trick is getting them to move on!
Poo jokes serve several purposes:
They let us feel a little embarrassed, in a low risk way. Embarrassment happens to all of us – it’s the emotions and actions that follow the embarrassment that matter. By feeling a little bit of embarrassment and by associating that feeling with laughter and humour we can help provide a pathway to a productive use for the embarrassment.
They allow for a bit of anarchy! Certainly poo jokes are outside of what we expect from ‘polite’ society and since we spend so much effort assimilating children into ‘polite’ society it’s something of a relief for them to step outside the norm and enjoy a bit of anarchy.
There’s a universality to poo jokes – after all everyone poos! It connects children, parents, teachers, friends and strangers and humanises all of them.
They can teach all sorts of rhetorical devices – from the double entendre to metaphor to onomatopoeia (words that sound like the sound they are describing).
Here’s a link to an article which examines scatological humour in children’s book. I particularly like the last line, it says:
We've linked the images to booksellers (The Story of the Little Mole) or to our posts (Baa Baa Smart Sheep and I Love Lemonade) - you might be able to find the others online but if not, they're very likely to be in a library.
P.S. a later note: The Story of the Little Mole has been incredibly popular ever since this post was published! And there's a another 'poo' post subsequent to this one that you might like to check out.