Using humor to defuse a potentially tense situation is a positive idea especially when working with toddlers. This children’s picture book shows a child who is having difficulty emptying his bowels. He is already trained to urinate but seems to suffer from constipation or fear of pushing. The mother in the story convinces him to try harder by offering a piece of chocolate as a reward and by convincing him that Mr Poo loves to go for a swim in the toilet. Hesitation to push hard is common in toddlers especially if it hurts. Anything that can help reduce the fear should be used.
I would, however, not recommend using chocolate as a reward since that is something that increases constipation. The number one, no pun intended, way to help a child who is having difficulty moving his bowels is to inundate him with foods that soften feces such as watermelon. Also, increase his liquid intake greatly but avoid sugary drinks.
The illustrations in this book are great. They are clear without being vulgar, positive and even humorous.
The one downfall in this book is a common mistake picture book writers make – writing in rhyme. I have written about this many times in my blog. The syllables and, rhythm, beat, whatever you want to call it, has to be flawless. A rhyming book that breaks the rhythm is difficult to read out loud and picture books are made to be read aloud. For example.
- I am learning to go to the toilet. 10 syllables
- Don’t like sitting on the loo. 7 syllables
- But Mum says I can get a chocolate. 9 syllables
- If I do a poo. 5 syllables
Because those lines rhyme, the brain wants to get a rhythm going but the varied syllabication makes that impossible.
One of the other stumbles is forced rhyming, when a writer twists the sentence around in order or chooses awkward wording to make the last words rhyme. Here are some examples from the book.
- I did it Mum, no more to hide.
- And stuck inside, make me feel fatter.
- This is something I cannot hide.
- Then I feel one last heaving whoosh.
- Doing poos in the toilet I now know how.
Writing this book in rhyme was an unfortunate choice as I think it could have been a fabulous book if the text had been smooth, easy to read, and natural.
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