Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE GREAT STINK – How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problem PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. I’m here today with a book that I am absolutely in love with…it’s engaging, entertaining, educational…and oh so funny! And the talented author, Colleen Paeff, is offering a super cool giveaway: the winner’s choice of either a copy of the book or a 20-minute Zoom chat. Colleen is one smart cookie – a chat with her will be mega helpful to anyone on the path to publication.


Written by Colleen Paeff

Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster

Ages: 4-8

Themes: History of London, Pollution, STEM

Synopsis from Amazon:

Discover the true story about the determined engineer who fixed London’s pollution problem in this funny, accessible nonfiction picture book featuring engaging art from the illustrator of Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine.

It’s the summer of 1858, and London’s River Thames STINKS. What is creating this revolting smell? The answer is gross: the river is full of poop.

But the smell isn’t the worst problem. Every few years, cholera breaks out, and thousands of people die. Could there be a connection between the foul water and the deadly disease?

One engineer dreams of making London a cleaner, healthier place. His name is Joseph Bazalgette. His grand plan to create a new sewer system to clean the river is an engineering marvel. And his sewers will save lives. Nothing stinky about that.

With tips for how to prevent pollution today, this fascinating look at science, history, and what one person can do to create change will impress and astound readers who want to help make their planet a cleaner, happier place to live.

Why I LOVE this book:

  1. The text is so well-written – filled with facts that are relayed in such a humorous manner – kids are going to absolutely love this story!
  2. The illustrations engage and entertain – they align with the narrative perfectly – adding yet another layer of humor.
  3. I love true stories that bring history alive for young readers – and the adults will enjoy the book as much as the kids.


Photo courtesy:

Yup…there are plumbing projects for kids! Check these out at:

And please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of either a copy of this awesome book or a 20-minute Zoom chat with author Colleen Paeff. Maybe you can tell us about a plumbing disaster you’ve experienced.

Remember that authors and illustrators need our support – if you love their books, please buy them, review them, tell friends about them, and ask your local library to purchase copies of them.

And to find out more about Colleen and her books:

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be winging my way to Chicago on Sunday and I’m getting ready for the Picture Book Palooza that is happening September 18th and 19th. My panel is only one of many value-packed sessions. For more info:

41 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE GREAT STINK – How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problem PLUS Giveaway

  1. This book sounds wonderful and fun (in a stinky way, of course!)~ I know that both of my daughters would love this. They really enjoy engineering/building activities and to read about someone who helped to solve such a large-scale problem would be extremely engaging for them. Thanks Vivian and Colleen for the review/giveaway!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. History coming alive in books is always fun–and I get to learn so much. I can’t wait to read this book. Plumbing disaster for us was when our basement backed up with sewage while we were away. Lost so many things and just gross to clean up. Safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To use one of my daughter’s words, this book sounds craptastic! It sounds almost as satisfying as that sudden swirl when plunging the toilet has been successful and all is well. Congratulations, and wishing you great success!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fun idea for a picture book! I’ve done research on the history of the Thames River and came across it’s stink era, but I did not know about Joseph Bazalgette. My grandfather took me to England when I was in college, so I could see where he and my grandmother were born and to meet our English relatives. Our journey to London was a special treat and we saw the amazing Thames! Congratulations to Colleen! Thank you for sharing, dear Vivian! I’ll see you online during Picture Book Palooza!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Perfect Picture Book Friday – Listen – Susanna Leonard Hill

  6. I have been looking forward to reading this book with my fourth graders for quite some time. Having done research about this topic with a student I tutored last summer, I know first hand how enthusiastic he was to learn about it. I can’t wait to get more students excited to read nonfiction.

    Liked by 2 people

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