The Great Stink

How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problem

US Release Date: August 31, 2021    UK Release Date: October 28, 2021    ISBN-13: 978-1534449299

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Kirkus, starred review

Something is in the air.

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.

Check out these HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES to pair with the book (includes free downloads!) and follow THE GREAT STINK PINTEREST BOARD for even more fun ideas! 


“Far from stinky…This informative exploration of London’s sanitation history will delight nonfiction fans interested in history, ecology, biography, and more.”

Kirkus, starred review

“Paeff celebrates [Bazalgette’s] engineering feat with a lively but orderly overview of the history of sanitation misinformation…and Carpenter has a field day illustrating a comical confrontation between Londoners and royalty and their offensive river.”

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“A genius combo of 19th century history and potty talk!”

-Elisa Boxer, author of The Voice That Won the Vote: How One Woman’s Words Made History