Drop the chicken and I let your ankles live


My son had TONS of summer homework for junior high school.  One of his assignments was to choose a book from a list and read it and do a book report.  He chose “The Great Trouble”  by Deborah Hopkinson (in Japanese, of course) because it was a book originally in English, and I think he knew that would please me and that I would read to him from the original.  And that is exactly what I did.

In English, it is called “The Great Trouble”, but if you look at the Japanese version you will see that its title translates directly as, “12 Days on Broad Street”.    (This is because it takes place in the Broad Street area of London.)  It is a fictionalized account of true events–the discovery in 1854 by Dr. Snow of what really caused cholera, thus saving countless lives.

I wasn’t incredibly interested in the fiction part of the story, but the facts they were based on were mesmerizing.  Nobody knew what caused cholera.  They thought it came from bad air.  So Dr. Snow had to convince them it came from water…..and from poop which seeped into the water.  (The book doesn’t go into great detail into the poop business.)

I recommend pairing this book with “Poop Fountain” by Tom Angleberger.    We read that a couple of months ago, and it is about three kids who venture to a sewage treatment plant.  You can contrast how long ago, poop got mixed (accidentally) into water, and nowadays, the poop is cleaned out of the water.

Makes me thankful to live in a country fortunate enough to have good sanitation and advanced technology!  (Unlike millions of people in the world today.)