Doing Business

Shawn Harris. Norton Young Readers, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-324-01566-6

Harris (Have You Ever Seen a Flower?) takes a time-honored toilet training euphemism and runs with it, using poster-like ink-and-brush art and saturated digital colors to infuse every page with mischievous energy and genuine encouragement. “Whose business is this?” asks the narrator, as an authoritative, orange-toned hand points to a pile of poo on the carpet. Readers know the answer, having seen a fluffy white dog wearing a bright blue coat guiltily hiding beneath a desk (blue haberdashery is a visual leitmotif). But Harris checks in with other poopers-in-progress anyway, underscoring that doing one’s business is perfectly natural in a species-appropriate place. En route to the book’s close, the survey of would-be rug-soilers reveals whom the culprit isn’t. The pile is too small for an elephant and too big for a ladybug, grown-ups poop in the toilet (clutching their phones and laptops), and “Bears do business in the woods. Cats do business in a box.” Cleverly, Harris incidentally categorizes readers as part of the smart set: upon noticing a full kids’ potty, the narrator asks, “Wait. Who did this business? You did this business? This is good. Good business.” It’s poop positivity at its best. Ages 3–5. [em]Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.) [/em]