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The Great Stink

How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London's Poop Pollution Problem

Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

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.

Fueled by English breakfast tea, a burning curiosity, and a love of research, Colleen Paeff writes from a book-lined office in an old pink house with a view of the Hollywood sign. Visit her online at ColleenPaeff.com.

Photo Credit:

Nancy Carpenter is the acclaimed illustrator of Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt, Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine, Fannie in the Kitchen, and Loud Emily, among other books. Her works have garnered many honors, including two Christopher Awards and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at NancyCarpenter.website.

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (October 28, 2021)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534449299
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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