With all the potty titles out there—many with clearer presentations of the concepts or stronger storylines and...

THE TEDDY POTTY BOOK

From the Bright Start Right Start series

This tall, sturdy volume of potty basics is another entry in the British Bright Start, Right Start series (First Numbers, 2014, etc.).

The text here reads like a beginner’s nonfiction title, introducing items such as diapers, underwear, toilets and training pants without much of a storyline to anchor the concepts. To begin, readers are introduced to Baby Bear: “This is Baby Bear wearing a diaper. / Baby Bear pees and poops in the diaper.” A note in small print suggests that parents replace the words “pee” and “poop” with whatever terms their family prefers. Readers then see Baby Bear wear training pants and underwear, use the potty successfully and unsuccessfully, and wash up afterward. Mommy Bear is there to help wipe Baby Bear’s bottom and flush the toilet. Unfortunately, the text doesn’t always flow smoothly at the sentence level, perhaps a result of the assiduous avoidance of gendered pronouns, and the connections between events are sometimes unclear. Further contributing to this disjointed effect are the mixed-media illustrations, which feature photographs of dressed-up teddy bears set against cartoon backgrounds, making for a busy, sometimes-dizzying blend of reality and fiction.

With all the potty titles out there—many with clearer presentations of the concepts or stronger storylines and characters—this is one to skip. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-910184-14-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Scribblers/Sterling

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end.

BYE-BYE BINKY

From the Big Kid Power series

This book seeks to use the power of persuasion to vanquish that most formidable of opponents: toddlers.

In this entry in the Big Kid Power series, a little black girl makes no bones about the fact that pacifiers (or “binkies”) are strictly baby territory. When she was little she needed one, but that was then. Whether she’s tired, sad, or hungry, there are other ways of being comforted: hugs and polite requests, for instance. After she gives her binky to a baby and bids it a very clear goodbye, the book ends with a triumphant, “I’M A BIG KID!” Using a striking color combination of orange, brown, and black, van Lieshout keeps her pages bold and bright, complementing the simple vocabulary. Such declarations as, “Do I still have a binky? // NO, BIG KIDS DON’T NEED A BINKY. / NOPE!” leave scant wiggle room for argument. In her author’s note at the end, van Lieshout says that after speaking to many parents about how they helped their kids bid their pacifiers adieu, “many of them had in common…a ritual of some sort.” The ritual here seems to be giving the pacifier away, though it may be missed by many readers. Companion title I Use the Potty uses a similar approach, with a proud, white boy as its guide.

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3536-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility.

CALLING DR. ZAZA

Make room, Doc McStuffins! Another young brown-skinned physician has arrived to attend to every ailment.

Dr. Zaza, who wears a pink-and-white–checked dress and an apron with a red cross on it, looks out at readers from the cover as she checks the heartbeat of a brightly colored, variegated-patterned stuffed rabbit—one of the many stuffed patients she takes care of throughout the book. Dr. Zaza checks Rosie the koala bear’s earache, Bobby the rabbit’s heartbeat, George the giraffe’s sore throat, Pinkie the bunny’s temperature, and Mo the snake’s scratch. When Mo requires a bandage, so does everyone else. And Dr. Zaza delivers. The protagonist’s deep brown skin and afro-puff hairdo offer a mirror for many readers of color and a window for others while also emphasizing that imaginative play around STEM professions should be the purview of children from every background. And even though Dr. Zaza cares only for stuffed animals thus far, her competence and willingness to help both suggest that medicine will likely be a good fit for her. The deeply-saturated, single-color backgrounds establish a warm and inviting mood for Dr. Zaza’s work, who seems more than content to help. Companion title Celebrate with Zaza finds Zaza in a more traditionally feminine role, coordinating Rosie’s birthday party.

A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-375-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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