A spacey twist on the potty book.


Can a human preschooler teach a baby alien how to use the potty?

The narrator, who wears a jumper and tights, is charmed by a baby alien from another planet—until noticing he doesn’t know “how to use the loo!” After he pees on the narrator’s easel and then poos in a birdbath outside, the child brings him into the bathroom to show him the toilet. He’s resistant, and so begins a lengthy interlude in which he resists all entreaties to use the potty and instead tries to go in various other places. Bragadottir’s cartoon art exploits every opportunity for laughs as the small, green, froglike alien crouches over a cowboy hat, a trash can, and a fishbowl. The last instance results in a mess, though the narrator saves the fish. Determined child then marches the alien back to the bathroom and teaches him a potty song: “Lid up, pants down, / bottom on the seat. / Sit still, just chill, / until the job’s complete. / Whistle if you want to. / Singing can be fun. / Wipe, flush, wash hands, / then you’re done!” In a humorous aside, the alien flubs the song when he tries to sing it, but eventually he succeeds in using the potty. As he returns to his departing spaceship, the narrator turns his success around to readers, assuring them, “If he can use the potty, you can too!” The narrator presents white; judging by the alien’s posture, his alimentary system and its termini are analogous to humans’.

A spacey twist on the potty book. (Picture book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-5508-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements.


From the Pout-Pout Fish Mini Adventure series

The Pout-Pout Fish brand expands.

Halloween is here, and Mr. Pout-Pout Fish is giving out treats from his submarine home. Those familiar with the blue striped fish will find the usual uncluttered illustrations and rhyming scheme (“Who’s at the helm / of the spooky submarine? // It’s you, Mr. Fish! / Have a happy Halloween!”). New readers may be drawn in by the colorful costumes the various fish wear as they trick-or-treat along the ocean floor. Keen-eyed readers with some pumpkin-carving experience may wonder how a jack-o’-lantern can be lit under water. This board book is a fairly standard look at Halloween, putting a popular character in common holiday trappings and adding nothing else. Fans of the holiday will have to look elsewhere for a more exciting take on Halloween’s thrills.

Another branded entry that offers little beyond the minimum requirements. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30191-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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As warm as a hug from Grandma.


Grandma is the star in dozens of picture books for older children, but seldom is the special bond between a toddler and their grandmother portrayed in a book for very young children.

This sweet, but not saccharine, board book fills that gap. Thankfully, this grandma does not have Alzheimer’s and is not dying. She simply delights in spending time with her cherished grandchild. The narrator, a charming bear cub, is not identified as male or female, which makes it easy for both girls and boys to insert themselves in the story. Each of the six rhyming couplets is spread across double-page spreads: “I love the fun we have each day, / And all the funny things you say.” Even in its small board-book trim size, there is still plenty of room for the winsome watercolors to highlight the familiar yet memorable rituals of a day spent with a loving and patient grandma. Note: “Rory Tyger” is the collective pseudonym for the British artistic team of Richard Greaves, Tracey Simmons, and Gabrielle Murphy. Their illustrations were originally used in Good Night, Sleep Tight by Claire Freedman (2003). In that story, the little bear is resisting bedtime. This reworking is a gentle and conflict-free ode to the special love between little bear and a doting grandma.

As warm as a hug from Grandma. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68010-524-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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