In this abecedarian book, debut author-illustrator Mutunga offers toddlers and their parents an inviting approach to toilet training.
A big-eyed, blond boy is the star in the simple, eye-catching illustrations for each letter, beginning with “Aa is for Ask”—as in the unlikely question, “Can I go to the bathroom, please?” Putting a book that promotes positive toilet training into alphabetical form is a tall order, but Mutunga manages to create a reasonable, enjoyable line through the potty training process. For instance, the bright primary colors of the sink, toilet and potty chair illustrating “Bb is for bathroom” make for an appealing scene. While “Dd is for Done” seems a bit premature, later entries such as “Oo is for ‘Oops’ ” acknowledge the inevitable missteps on the journey from diapers to underwear. Several illustrations show a supportive mom, though she’s joined by a father in just two pictures and what appears to be an older sister in only one. Some letters, such as “Mm is for Milestone” and “Vv is for Violet”—a color of underwear—are a stretch, but they’re counterbalanced by perfect pairings like “Qq is for Quit,” with the mother saying, “Do you want to quit wearing diapers? You will quit when you’re ready,” juxtaposed with “Rr is for Ready!”, which shows a train with a red, potty chair–shaped engine approaching. The tough letter “Xx is for eXcuse-me” is a little weak, and the illustration of the wet, embarrassed boy next to a puddle on the floor may upset some young readers, though the lead-in—“Ww is for Wet,” which says, “When you get wet, don’t fret! Just say, ‘Excuse me!’ ”—wins points for creativity. On the final spread, the loving bond between parents and child at bedtime makes “Zz is for ZZzzz” and “Good night, sleep tight” a satisfying ending.
Although potty lit for toddlers is a crowded field, this warm, encouraging entry is a welcome addition.