On Top of the Potty and other get-up-and-go songs
by Alan Katz and David Catrow
Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)
Did you know that girls don't poop or pee? I had no idea. Here I am, trying to potty train my 2-1/2 y.o. daughter who, I can assure you, has the requisite girl parts and, as far as I can tell, produces the usual prodigious excretions.
But in 32 pages of goofy songs and illustrations, there isn't a single girl going potty. Not one. Every single child in this book shown going potty is a boy. Every child shown in need of potty time is a boy. Every song features a boy character. There are two girls in the background in a single scene, and two completely random women characters who aren't shown in any potty-related activities. Everybody else is male.
Where have the author and illustrator been for the last 2 billion years? We're past the amoeba stage, guys. We have two sexes now.
Okay, so this doesn't try to be a primer on potty training and we don't see any boy parts anyway. It's the latest in their series where they've rewritten lyrics to old kids' songs--some really old--for maximum gross-out humor. So we get "Tinkle, Tinkle on the Floor" and "On Top of the Potty" (for "On Top of Old Smokey") and the like.
Maybe the duo thinks girls are the gentler sex and don't like to mention the unmentionables. They should've been at our dentist's when Lael proudly announced, "My have vagina!" That the dentist doesn't examine that particular orifice was incidental.
I don't have the patience for authors who ignore half their intended audience, or who treat girls as mere extras. They have five books out and I see a girl on only one cover, so I doubt it's any better in Take Me Out of the Bathtub and their other books.
And the quality of the lyrics? Set your mind to it and you can rewrite just about anything for potty humor. It's not like they've cornered the market. And, yes, it'll draw the expected laughs and guffaws--mostly from my kindergartener, who no longer needs help on the subject.