I first found the Terrific Toddlers series at BookExpo two years ago, and I love the way they communicate feelings and action to both parents and toddlers in a way that’s constructive and instructional. There are three new books coming in November, and they look at some big topics for little people.
JoJo, Kai, and Jack are all learning to use the potty! Parents are there to help, whether it’s to usher a toddler into the bathroom to take off a diaper, or to help a little understand that when we flush, the water takes away the poop – but not the toddler! Each toddler has a different experience with the potty, and Ava has graduated to undies. With short, informational sentences, readers learn that, whether wearing a diaper or undies, we all use a potty to poop or pee, and we learn to recognize the feeling that tells us to use the potty. A note to parents and caregivers provides guidance for potty training, including signs of physical and emotional readiness. Soft pastel artwork and a white background with occasional splashes of pastel provide a relaxing reading experience, and a multicultural group of children to appeal to all readers.
Time To Go! is all about that challenging moment in toddlerhood: leaving one place or task to go somewhere else. Ava is singing, but Daddy knows it’s time to head to the playground; once at the playground, JoJo’s mom tells her it’s time to go; at home, Jack needs to take a bath, but he’s playing with his trains. Each parent recognizes the pushback: “I busy!”; I singing!”; and the one we all know so well, “NO!” Each parent follows their little, acknowledges how they feel at the moment, and uses a bit of deflection to help ease feelings. Ava’s dad tells provides her with a routine: “first we put on our shoes, then we take our snack”; JoJo’s mom gives JoJo a choice: slide down the slide one more time, or Mom can catch her; Jack’s mom lets him drive his trains to the bath. Each time, the toddler has a choice in how to proceed, but the parent is making the decision. There’s no yelling, no lost tempers, no crying, giving us parents a realistic plan for handling that toddler pushback. The parent and caregiver note offers suggestions for setting limits, including giving a heads-up (I still give my 8-year-old the “5-minute warning”), having a routine, using transitional objects, and giving a choice. Having the same cast of toddlers in each book gives our toddlers familiar faces, letting them bond with the characters and see them as having a full range of experiences, like our own kids do.
This book tackles the biggie: The New Baby. The opening sentences put it best: “Sometimes a new baby comes. Sometimes we worry about what will happen.” Kai’s mommy is about to have a baby, and Kai is not really sure how to feel about it. Mommy and Daddy reassure him, but when Baby comes home, Kai is frustrated and wants the baby to go away! Mommy lets him get his emotions out, encouraging him to stomp and voice his anger, and then calms him down by letting him sit on her lap while Daddy shows him pictures of Kai when he was a baby. By letting Kai know that he will always be Mommy and Daddy’s baby, even when he’s their big boy, they are showing him that he is an important part of the family. New Baby! addresses fear and frustration that toddlers feel when a new baby joins the family. The parent and caregiver note encourages adults to acknowledge the possible regression, as toddlers try to revert back to baby behaviors; let toddlers help out by letting them get diapers, blankets, or toys for baby.
I’m really happy with this series of toddler books; looking forward to seeing how they do at my library.