I’m pretty sure that I could get many people to agree with me when I say that middle school is the most challenging time of growing up. Finding and making friends, being popular or not, body changes…all these contribute to you feeling like you’re the ONLY ONE who has problems. It hurts to be excluded. It hurts being bullied. Being laughed at hurts. Being called names hurts. But there’s a certain magic in claiming a name for yourself and making it your own, right? No one can hurt you with it after that. This is what middle schooler Will Poupé discovers from the school janitor (who is really a wizard who loves bowling) after a particularly grueling day trying to escape from the school bully. The janitor helps him find what was inside of him all along, so to speak.
As you can probably guess from the title, there is LOTS of poop on these pages—but the pages are riotously colorful, flow well and are drawn in a manga-action style, with plenty of swooshing background lines, sparkle marks and chibi love-struck eyes. Like Ms. Marvel, Poop discovers how to change into a pooper-hero (his costume even looks a little like hers), has a familiar (or sidekick) named Turdie and even the little flies attracted to his poop love him. But the janitor has warned him, (just like Spider-Man) with great power comes great responsibility. Will Poop use his power to get even? Or to help others? Because not all is what it seems, and even Green Lantern had to learn restraint in what he made with his ring.
Of such drama is middle school made—and learned from. Poop’s teacher, Walter Tenpenny (T.P.) is portrayed as a good-hearted but somewhat off-base guy with a sallow complexion and a Gomez Addams moustache.
This book is full of diverse characters and hilarious “dad puns” that will definitely elicit more than a few eyerolls. Aimed at about the 7-12 age range, this book would be a good addition to any middle school library collection. Books making fun of bodily functions are almost always popular, right?
Hello, My Name is Poop
By Ben Katzner
Art by Ian McGinty
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11)