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Toilet: How It Works

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  120 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by David Macaulay Studio
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(showing 1-30 of 287)
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Elissa Schaeffer
This is a brief introduction to "waste management" from a respected author of nonfiction for children. It's also very nice to see a nonfiction reader that's not about animals or insects as that seems to dominate the area.

First let me say that the title may be misleading. Yes, there is a particular focus on the toilet, but we get information on how the body makes waste to septic tanks and sewer treatment plants. So there's more to this than just how toilets work. There are also so ideas introduce
This was a nice explanation of how a toilet works. Macaulay wants to produce books that will entice kids to read and he does it in his way. He tells kids how something works. Now he is making these books for the beginning readers and I applaud him for doing that! There are plenty of boys...and girls...who don't want to read fiction about talking animals for example, but want real books about real things. This series will provide them with a great alternative. My only complaint is that this is no ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Sunday rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m always looking for non-animal focused, non-narrative texts for students to read. Having always been a fan of his adult “how it works” books, I’ve been curious about Macaulay’s “how it works” series of books for children. Alas, I am disappointed. See my notes below – these might be helpful when you are considering nonfiction for your own classroom or library…

Toilet: How It Works (My Readers Series – Level 4, Macaulay, 2013)

Mar 22, 2014 Yapha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Toilets. We all use them everyday. But most children (and probably plenty of adults) don't know how they work, or what happens after you flush. David Macauley's book takes a look at that process. With a brief introduction to where the waste in your body comes from, Macauley explains what happens next. Using plenty of illustrations, he explains how a tank toilet disposes of waste. Next he follows where it goes, depending on whether you have a septic tank or are on the sewer line. An interesting l ...more
Jul 02, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Macaulay's early books when I was younger, so I picked up this one at my local library as I've never read it before. It gives an overview of how a toilet works and an overview of how septic tanks and sewage treatment plants work. Hard words (for 4th graders) are defined in the back of the book. I would have enjoyed this book as a kid (though probably not as a favorite). As an adult, I know more than it explained, but it was still fun to read as he makes his pictures interesting to stud ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Becky rated it liked it
On one hand, I really liked this book. It has important and interesting information, not only about toilets, but also about waste treatment. Macaulay does a wonderful job.

On the other hand, I find I am questioning the format. This is written as an easy reader. The audience for an easy reader is usually a child who is learning how to read. Sentences are kept short and vocabulary is somewhat controlled to help these young readers. This book contains the shortened sentences, but does not have the e
Elizabeth S
Absolutely fascinating. From the basics on how our bodies make waste, to how a toilet flushes, to how a septic tank works, to how a sewer system and water treatment plant works. This isn't "what you've always wanted to know about a toilet and more." Instead, it is "interesting stuff that you were have never thought to wonder about, but not too much."

To give you a feel for the tone of the book, here is the second paragraph of the author's introductory note: "Everybody knows what a toilet is for.
The Styling Librarian
Toilet – How It Works by David Macaulay – How do you represent using the toilet? You show how the body creates what we excrete. Great information and humor mixed throughout… looking forward to promoting and sharing this with my students…
Apr 01, 2014 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a nice introduction to how toilets work and what happens after everything leaves the toilet. Macauley discusses septic tanks for country folk and sewage treatment plants for city folk. Lots of good information here.
Jan 13, 2014 Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author-illustrator David Macaulay has long been known for his “building” books: Castle, Cathedral, Mosque, and more. In 2012 he turned his considerable skills to a younger audience in this easy reader series by Macmillan, which this year includes a book on toilets. Readers will find out how a toilet flushes, as well as why humans need toilets, where their waste ends up, and how septic systems and sewers work. (Originally reviewed on Mackin Books in Bloom.
NYC Reads 365
""Everybody knows what a toilet is for," writes acclaimed author/illustrator David Macaulay. But what does it do? Macaulay's lucid diagrams present concepts from chemistry, physics, and civil engineering as he traces our waste's path through digestive and sewer systems."
Sep 20, 2015 Crockett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-to-kiddo
I found a way to build on my toddler's fascination with potties! Now he's in preschool, and he knows about septic tanks, sewers, and wastewater treatment!
Sep 13, 2013 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A whole new kind of bathroom humor. On the title page, we see a line of folks waiting to get into the rest room. Everyone's got business to do in there. (Of course, the dog just wants a drink and the mammoth? I think he wandered in from some other Macaulay book...)

Mr. Macaulay explains, in forthright text, what goes into the toilet, what should NOT go into the toilet and what happens after the toilet is flushed. It's very interesting and it's funny even if you aren't a third grader. (Unless you'
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Jun 09, 2014 Ian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but doesn't quite overcome the hurdle between "a simple, illustrated explanation" and "a textbook for kids."
It's such a simple thing. a toilet... or os it? Inquiring little minds want to know. And for those visual learners, nobody is better than David Macaulay. Follow this picture journey down the... well, you know.
i think this nonfiction beginning reader is perfect for my crazy kids at turning pages.
May 14, 2014 MMatchak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A look at what happens after we flush. 2014 Cook Prize nominee.
Feb 25, 2014 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Combine with Underground by the same author.
Jan 23, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
A brilliant combination of Macaulay's detailed illustrations and easy-to-read text for beginning readers.
Dec 03, 2013 babyhippoface rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-non-fiction
Of course, we all know it's a toilet. But how does it work?

In very clear terms, avoiding offensive images or wording, the mechanisms of both the human digestive system and the toilet are explained. I learned a lot from this little book. I think the subject matter will get kids' attention, and it's full enough of information but not too clogged (pardon the pun) with details to slow kids down. Should be a popular title.
Dec 03, 2013 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
This was an easy(ish) reader that explains how a toilet works. The author follows the trail from digestion to toilet to underground pipes to treatment plants to river to explain not just how the toilet works, but also how waste is treated and how what's left is added back into the land and water. Young readers will be interested to know where their poop goes when they flush.
Dec 11, 2013 Jenny rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction-j, easy
What kid doesn't like to read about toilets? Both of my kids jumped at this book when I brought it home. It's not filled with bad scatological humor (okay, not much)--I actually learned about how toilets work and how waste is carried away and treated. Fascinating!
A how to concerning toilets and the waste they process. Both the digestive process and the process by which waste is managed are covered complete with color diagrams.

A fascinating read for independent readers who like to understand how things work.
Great Books
Feb 18, 2015 Great Books rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ages-5-8
Everyone needs to use a toilet everyday. The detailed cut-away diagrams show how it works, and where it sends all the waste. Combining the gross factor with lots of information, this is a great nonfiction book for young readers. Reviewer 12.
Msjennifers Corner
Oct 16, 2013 Msjennifers Corner rated it really liked it
Illustrated view of how and why a toilet works. Very basic and informative. So simple it seems silly no one thought of it before. Hopefully we will see it being checked out and put to use.
Monica Edinger
May 31, 2013 Monica Edinger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic. Clear, informative (boy is it informative), and full of Macaulay's perfect dry wit. My favorite line in the book is "Clever toilet."
Oct 19, 2015 heather rated it it was amazing
Explains what happens when you flush all the way through being absorbed into the environment. Good diagrams etc.
Marianne Reeves
Oct 24, 2013 Marianne Reeves rated it it was amazing
Just the basics about how the toilet works and what happens to all that waste! Kids will be fascinated!
Oct 09, 2013 Peacegal rated it liked it
How does a toilet really work? Funny easy reader with a very appropriate cover illustration.
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David Macaulay, born in 1946, was eleven when his parents moved from England to Bloomfield, New Jersey. He found himself having to adjust from an idyllic English childhood to life in a fast paced American city. During this time he began to draw seriously, and after graduating from high school he enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). After spending his fifth year at RISD in Rome on ...more
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