I Really, Really Need a Poo by Karl Newson and Duncan Beedie

I Really, Really Need a Poo by Karl Newson and Duncan Beedie – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: A bushbaby’s amusing poo predicament.
Children’s book title: I Really, Really Need a Poo.
Children’s author: Karl Newson.
Children’s illustrator: Duncan Beedie.
Genre: Picturebook.
Published by: Little Tiger.
ISBN: 9781801045742.
Recommended for children aged: 2+ year-olds.
First published: Paperback February 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: EYFS, reception and KS1 poop-lovers; perfect for potty-humour fans and reluctant toilet users.

I Really, Really Need a Poo by Karl Newson and Duncan Beedie

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Our review:

This wide-eyed galago has a problem… she clutches her tooting bottom as if in haste, an unfurling toilet roll racing towards her rear. Even non-readers will be able to discern what is inside this book from the front cover; a toilet fiasco. The first spread in I Really, Really Need a Poo is a colourfully illustrated collection of habitats, visually setting up the reader’s approaching journey through the wild. We are then introduced to the bushbaby who immediately reveals a secret… she desperately needs a poo. Newson continues the remainder of the story with a prepositional narrative; she climbs, swings and wiggle-walks her way through various anthropomorphised ‘venues’, but each toilet is unsuitable for her. “Oh bumcheeks!” Can she find a toilet in time…?

I Really, Really Need a Poo by Karl Newson and Duncan Beedie spread 1

When one particular toilet proves too exposed, she thinks, “Come on bottom, concentrate.” On another page, she berates, “Be patient, poo!” These moments of self-talk subtly identify the cognitive skills necessary for toilet training; planning, problem-solving and patience. The rhythmical writing is surprisingly language-rich, offering a semantic field of verbs associated with going to the toilet, such as multiple synonyms for ‘occupied’. The text is typographically effective, with frequent exclamation marks and capitalised vowel digraphs that allude to the reader which words to emphasise.

This bushbaby’s struggle is relatable to all, but probably most of all to the intended audience; those currently experiencing, or anyone who vividly remembers, the trials and tribulations of transitioning from nappy to toilet. The bushbaby’s facial expressions throughout represent for children (and adults!) the universal feeling of powerlessness that bodily functions tend to induce, and thus encourages via humour empathetic reading. By humourizing this bushbaby’s experience of a (sometimes embarrassing!) bodily function, the book becomes close to therapeutic for children; transforming a commonly stressful developmental milestone into age-appropriate, vibrant silliness. And all the while teaching a very important fact; animals poo, too.

I Really, Really Need a Poo by Karl Newson and Duncan Beedie back cover

Our verdict:

Aimed at children aged 2+, we think this text is a great talking point for PSED topics and animal studies. The comical subject will emotionally engage large groups, perfect for collaborative, heavily intonated storytelling; through repetition, children may want to join in with the gassy sound effects (to which the reader can playfully relay, “Be quiet, bum!”). Expect many re-readings.

Many thanks to Little Tiger for the review copy.

Karl Newson reads from the first in the series: I Really, Really Need a Wee.

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If you like I Really, Really Need a Poo by Karl Newson and Duncan Beedie you might also like: our reviews of Lionel Poops by Eric Veille, Very First Questions and Answers: What is Poo? By Katie Daynes, I say Oh, You say No by John Kane, The Little Thing by Nick Cave, NO! said Rabbit by Marjoke Henrichs and Poo Bum by Stephanie Blake.

Browse our list of picture books for preschool and EYFS

About Lucinda Brocklehurst

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Lucinda is an artist, home educator and student based in Gloucestershire. To support her developing career in children’s publishing, she volunteers in literary roles and works alongside children and young people as a childminder. She is a part-time student with Open University, studying a BA in Childhood and Youth Studies and hopes to continue onto an MA in Children's publishing. Linkedin | Reviews by Lucinda Brocklehurst