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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 08:02 GMT 09:02 UK
The poetry of bodily functions
By Jane Elliott
Health reporter, BBC News

Cover of the book
The book explains many bodily functions
Most children love blood, gore and guts.

They never fail to be entertained by burping, farting and snot.

But what many disgusted parents and their teachers overlook is that this fascination can in fact be a useful learning tool.

North London GP Nick Krasner, has harnessed the fascination for all things "icky" to entertain and educate.

In 'Oozing Medical Poems' he tackles the issues of bugs, appendicitis and personal hygiene through 11 poems aimed at seven to 11-year-olds.

"There is education there, but it is not rammed down their throats," Dr Krasner explained.

If you keep picking your nose, my child,
The finger will come to the brain, my child,
There's just a small plate,
A tea strainer or grate, that separates your brain from your nose, my child

"It gives them an interest in their bodies.

"I have been writing for many years now, and I wanted to write something that would make going to the doctor easier for children.

"I wanted children to see doctors as somebody they can speak to, someone more like an uncle or a friend than a man in a suit."

'Boils and pustules'

Dr Nick said that his nieces, Charlotte and Francesca, had regularly asked him questions about the old favourites such as mucus and ear wax, but he had not been able to find any books that could adequately explain why they occur - so he decided to pen his own.

'Juicy Jake' illustration. Illustrations by Bryn Barnard

In one of the poems "A thank you from a healthy bug", Dr Nick observes how a germ gets from Mark's dirty skin to Deborah's eye, Michael's nose and Joe's glands.

And "Bradley the Bear" tells the story of an animal whose personal hygiene is so poor that he becomes home to mice, lice and vermin and ends up with cracked paws, boils and itchy fur.

Children are citizens in their own right and deserve more explanation
Professor Mayur Lakhani, chairman of the Royal College of GPs

But bodily functions are definitely the big obsession, with three poems centring around 'snot' and one on burping, ear wax and bottoms.

"I have tried to make them entertaining, but factually correct as well," said Dr Krasner.

The book also comes with a CD of the poems so that the children can hear how the author intended them to be read.

Professor Mayur Lakhani, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said work like this really helped.

"Generally we do not do enough to explain health issues to children in terms that they can easily understand.

"Children are citizens in their own right and deserve more explanation.

"This publication appears to be a way of doing this in an appealing and fun way."

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