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Book Review: Potty Animals: What to Know When You’ve Gotta Go! by Hope Vestergaard, Illustrated by Valeria Petrone

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Congratulations, you’ve successfully potty-trained your child! They can run to the potty, pull down their pants and do their thing. However, just maybe, there is some fine-tuning that needs to take place. Maybe your child is afraid to flush, doesn’t wipe or wash heir hands, leaves the door open, or a multitude of other pottying misdemeanors. What to do? Your shelves hold the standard potty-training books, but where’s the sequel; the follow-up title that leads to mastering all the finer points of using the toilet? Welcome to Potty Animals: What to Know When You’ve Gotta Go!

Written in rhyme punctuated by emphatic statements, author Hope Vestergaard sneakily invites young children to correct the potty mistakes that a group of preschool or early elementary aged animals make in their toileting habits. Freddie the rabbit is afraid to flush, Helga the duck lallygags, Georgie won’t wipe, and Farley won’t close the door! Not only that, but there’s an entire crew of tiny critters who exhibit a wide range of potentially embarrassing and unhealthy habits that must be curbed!

Illustrator Valeria Petrone’s comical, clothed critters are caught in the act – barging Benji is suddenly surprised when someone barges in on him for a change, Stanley is spotted tinkling on his shoe as he pees outside behind a tree, and Ziggy’s zipper is left embarrassingly open. There’s no doubt what these critters are up to, with pants pulled down and perched on the potty, however Petrone does use tactful positioning of books and other elements to avoid embarrassment for young readers and their parents.

When I flipped open Potty Animals with my children I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I hadn’t pre-read this title, and just dove in. I can’t honestly remember a time that I’ve laughed so hard reading a picture book. This is such a funny, frank, and age-appropriate way to delve into these issues. Just thinking about Benji the barger cracks me up every time – you really need to check this title out for yourself!

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