cover image Potty Animals: What to Know When You've Gotta Go!

Potty Animals: What to Know When You've Gotta Go!

Hope Vestergaard, , illus. by Valeria Petrone. . Sterling, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4027-5996-3

Petrone's cheery digital characters and Vestergaard's decorous yet humorous rhymes invite readers to help civilize the bathroom habits of some uncouth preschool-age animals. Each exhibits a different undesirable trait (a bear, Georgie, “didn't like to wipe./ He got an itchy feeling/ that made him groan and gripe”), which is followed by a clear-cut rule (“Wipe every time, Georgie!”). Vestergaard's rhymes are a weak point; they can meander and even confuse as they stretch to make the meter work. Readers may well recognize and empathize with the animals' bad behavior: forgetting to use soap, public farting, not knocking before entering, and failing to flush. Petrone's wide-eyed cartoon animals capture a broad spectrum of toddler emotions, from the blissful daydreaming of Helga the duck, who holds up the line with her lollygagging, to the embarrassment of Sukey the raccoon, who, at a slumber party, awakens from a dream about “floating down a stream” to discover “it's not a dream”—every kid's nightmare. Ages 3–6. (Mar.)