The lesson is clear: Pee with flair.




Sure, potty training is important, but how many books emphasize how to urinate with style?

Family practitioner Spector explains that he and his wife potty trained their son using the “free style” method. Translation: Costumes optional. Moved to inspire others, he offers this minihandbook highlighting 10 different styles from which a boy can draw inspiration. There’s “Rocket Style,” which involves a countdown to “blast off”; “Superhero Style,” in which the valiant urinater defeats a villainous square of toilet paper with proper aim; and “Firefighter Style,” in which the stream is put to good use extinguishing an imaginary potty fire. For all these and more, wardrobe changes and props are encouraged. Naturally some styles are stronger than others. “Magic Style” makes perfect sense, while “Mommy Style” (in which the child presumably imitates his mother and complains that the toilet seat is up) is just a cheap joke. Parents who would rather their kids not pee outside may wish to avoid “Free Style” and “Waterfall Style,” both of which turn the great outdoors into a boy’s personal lavatory. Illustrator Chung treats the material with suitable razzle dazzle, imbuing his hero with the heart and soul of a performer while never showing a single penis. A note to parents and a list of basic potty-training rules at the end make this a touchstone for the anxious.

The lesson is clear: Pee with flair. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9773-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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


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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The sweet sibling relationship and the focus on Daddy as primary caregiver make this one stand out.


From the Backpack Baby series

Big brother Jacob helps Daddy take care of mischievous Little Sister in the newest offering in the Backpack Baby board-book series.

Neither Jacob nor his sister rides on Daddy’s back in this book. Here, Jacob walks, and Little Sister rides in a stroller—for a little while anyway. Adorable, grinning Little Sister wears a yellow dress with pink flowers and a matching hat, which she is desperate to jettison. She tosses it off her head, flings it into the water with the ducks, and finally succeeds in getting rid of it by propping it on the head of a passing puppy. While Little Sister’s antics provide comic relief, the real meat of the story is Jacob’s development, specifically the pleasure he gets from taking care of his sister and the bonding time he shares with Daddy. When Little Sister runs toward the duck pond, Jacob runs after her, wrapping his arms around her securely just as she reaches the edge. When the family stops for some ice cream, he and Daddy laugh together as Little Sister makes a mess, and they enjoy a needed rest when she finally takes a nap. The unfussy illustrations feature the three characters against solid backgrounds, emphasizing the interpersonal dynamics at the heart of the story.

The sweet sibling relationship and the focus on Daddy as primary caregiver make this one stand out. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59572-689-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Star Bright

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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