cover image TIME TO PEE


Mo Willems, . . Hyperion, $12.99 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-1868-6

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.)