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ON TOP OF THE POTTY

AND OTHER GET-UP-AND-GO SONGS

Katz and Catrow’s fifth song collection has all the punch and visual impact of the previous works, but the duo may finally have crossed the line in terms of content. While elementary-age readers will laugh themselves senseless, adults who are attempting to potty-train toddlers may not appreciate the gross references (“People poopy / Squooshy brown”), the glib way Katz deals with setbacks (“My friend Mike / Just went poop / On his next-door-neighbor’s stoop / There’s no problem / ’Cause they know / He’s getting potty trained / And this whole week it has rained.”), or the ideas these songs may put into youngsters’ heads (“Don’t Flush Strange Things in the Potty” is the title of one of the songs). Exceptions include a great handwashing song to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “On Top of the Potty,” which details one kid’s endless wait for something to happen and the trademark tune found in every book, “Go Do Poop in the Toilet” (“Take me Out to the Ballgame”). Several verses within songs also shine, but parents will want to carefully preview all songs before putting on a show for their little toileteers. (Picture book/songs. 2-8)

Pub Date: March 25, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-689-86215-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

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ABDUL'S STORY

A real treasure of a book for any child who has struggled to learn a skill.

A young Black boy struggles with writing—until a special guest visits his class.

Abdul loves to tell stories about the people in his neighborhood, and his friends at school love hearing them. But whenever he tries to write down his stories in a notebook, spelling rules confuse him, and his “scribbly, scratchy, scrawly letters” never stay on the lines. Abdul decides that his stories are not for books. One day, a visitor comes to Abdul’s class; Mr. Muhammad—a Black man with a flattop haircut like Abdul’s and whose sneakers, like Abdul’s, have “not a single crease or scuff”—is a writer who urges the students to “write new stories with new superheroes.” Abdul feels motivated to give writing another shot, but again he ends up with endless erasure marks and smudges. Mr. Muhammad shows Abdul his own messy notebook, and Abdul, who is left-handed, decides to try writing without erasing. He makes a mess but searches through the clutter for sentences he loves. He rewrites and rewrites and works on his mistakes until he forms a story he likes, proudly claiming the title of writer. Bright, full-color, textured digital illustrations depict a racially diverse, joyful community. This story offers an honest portrayal of learning differences and demonstrates the importance of role models who reflect kids’ own backgrounds. It is a lovely addition to the shelf of meaningful children’s books portraying Black Muslim Americans in everyday situations. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A real treasure of a book for any child who has struggled to learn a skill. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6298-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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TILDA TRIES AGAIN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

An accessible entrance into the world of social-emotional skills.

What do you do when the world turns upside down?

Freckled redhead Tilda is a happy only child with a rollicking personality. With lots of books and toys and a multiracial group of friends, life is perfect as far as she’s concerned…until her world undergoes a troubling change (a subtle hint in the illustrations suggests that Tilda’s parents have divorced). Suddenly, nothing feels right, everything seems hard, and she doesn’t want to play with her friends. To reflect this emotional disorientation, the artwork shows Tilda in spatially distorted settings, complete with upside-down objects. It’s not until she sees an upturned ladybug struggle persistently before getting back on its feet (despite Tilda’s desire to help, the ladybug needs to help itself) that Tilda gains the courage to start taking baby steps in order to cope with her new reality. There are still challenges, and she needs to persevere, but eventually, she regains her zest for life and reconnects with her friends. Despite this, the ending avoids an easy happily-ever-after, which feels just right for the subject matter. Though a trifle didactic, the story sends an important message about the roles of self-efficacy and persistence when it comes to overcoming challenges and building resilience. Percival’s digital illustrations use transitions from grayscale to color to create symbolic meaning and have psychological depth, deftly capturing a child’s experience of trauma.

An accessible entrance into the world of social-emotional skills. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0822-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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