As the mother to three children, you could most definitely say that potty talk is big in my life. No, not the potty talk that would get you to tsk tsk me, but the actual talking about the pottying experience, of course! Having read just about every picture book that introduces the concept of ditching the diapers and becoming a Big Boy or Girl, I can honestly say that the new book by Hope Vestergaard, Potty Animals: What to Know When You’ve Gotta Go!, stands unique in the crowd.
A cast of characters who have all mastered the act of using the potty is introduced, but each young animal has a certain challenge in the bathroom arena. Among them there’s Wilbur who tries to skip out on the hand-washing, Freddie who’s not too keen on the flushing part, Georgie who often forgoes the wiping step, and my personal favorite, Arnold:
Though Arnold has outstanding aim,
to point and kick and throw,
he isn’t always accurate,
when it’s time to go.
He hits the floor, he hits the lid, he hits the toilet seat.
Not much goes in the toilet bowl,
which isn’t very neat.”
Now I gotta tell you as a former preschool teacher responsible for cleaning up after eighteen four-year-olds, this page with its illustration of a sheepish looking alligator standing next to a potty flanked by small puddles on the floor is as realistic as it gets!
Each young animal gets a reminder of the more appropriate behaviors- from washing hands, to closing the door, to knocking before entering, and much more, and the tone is never harshly reprimanding at all. The cartoonish illustrations are colorful and cute, but the messages are as true to life as can be. If I make it back into a preschool classroom in the coming years, this book will most definitely be coming with me.
Announcing a giveaway for Potty Animals: What to Know When You’ve Gotta Go! makes me so happy that I could burst! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist… don’t worry, I won’t be like Wilma and wait until the last minute!):
Sterling Books is generously offering three copies of this adorable and very useful book, along with bottles of hand sanitizers featuring some key reminders and characters from the story. Please leave one comment here to be entered, U.S. and Canada residents only, please.
We’ll announce the winners in this column on May 31.
The adventures of Dawn’s three potty animals take center stage at her blog, my thoughts exactly. She also writes book reviews at 5 Minutes for Books. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of the book.