Not surprisingly, the author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus infuses this potty training manual with saucy wit. Nonetheless, empathy underscores every laugh. From the beginning, Willems addresses the child's perspective: "If you ever get that funny feeling... don't panic! Don't fret! And please don't ignore it! Now is your chance to show how big you are!" He goes over the protocol-lift the lid, do your business, wash your hands-and ends with a reassuring, right-on-target observation. When you are through, "Everything will still be right where it was." Acknowledging an inveterate source of accidents-kids' intense desire to keep playing-Willems draws a relieved toddler bounding toward a tea party where her stuffed animals await her return. As in his debut, Willems pens rib-tickling, expressive cartoon characters on a white background, coloring in his images with an understated palette in ochre tones. A host of inviting mice narrate the text, which drapes across signs, balloons, banners and unfurling rolls of toilet paper. Antics such as rolling out a red carpet and the mice posing as an airport ground crew-who helpfully direct a youngster toward the bathroom with lighted, orange batons-provide gentle comic relief for a topic often fraught with anxiety. Ages 2-4. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
PreS-Good toilet training books seem as scarce as a clean public restroom in Times Square, and, unfortunately, this book won't alleviate the problem. A parade of needy children is joined by a group of wise mice that guides the youngsters to the bathroom and back. Encouraging phrases will assist reluctant children: "Don't Panic! Don't Fret! And please don't ignore it! Now is your chance to show how BIG you are!" Reminders to use toilet paper, flush, and wash hands are included. A final message reassures, "Don't worry if you don't get it right the first time-you'll get another chance." The book's benefits are overshadowed by the busy and possibly confusing illustrations. Large, bold type is set word by word into flags, banners, and signs held by the small creatures. When one child arrives in the bathroom, the toilet lid is covered with a well-meaning but unfortunately placed mouse band. While libraries will be able to work around the chart on the inside of the dustjacket and the page of (unattached) stickers that will allow children to record their successes, these features make the book most useful for home libraries.-Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
That most basic of functions, subject of countless earnest tomes, at last receives a treatment whose instructional value is equaled by its entertainment value. "If you ever get that funny feeling . . . " reads a series of signs borne by a host of cheerful, cartoony mice as they fly, drive, march, and (in at least one instance) get shot from a cannon past a bevy of dubious-looking multicultural children: "don't PANIC! Don't FRET!" The simple text is direct, not without humor ("And please don't ignore it!"), and wonderfully child-wise, providing the critical reassurance that "everything will still be right where it was." The multitudinous mice in their kite-flying, instrument-playing, sky-diving, helicopter-driving variety constitute a visual feast that enlivens the simple text and will keep the inevitable re-readings from becoming snooze-inducing. The uncluttered layout allows the children to take center stage while the legions of mice, with their text-bearing signs, happily perform their supporting roles. Those kids move from doubt to magnificent relief to pride in a happily encouraging progression, making this offering number one in the potty department. (Picture book. 2-4)