Great Potty Training Books to Share Read Along with Your Toddler

Potty Training can be a trying time, but there is no need to do it without some great books to read together and have some laughs along the way. Here are some books to buy or borrow and enjoy. 

Even Firefighters Go To The Potty by Wendy Wax was a big hit with my son. He had reached the point where he knew what he had to do, what we wanted him to do, but simply didn't want to stop doing whatever he was doing to take a potty break. This fun book with lifting flaps showed him that everyone needed to take breaks during the day to use the potty even firefighters, police officers, teachers and baseball payers. Therefore, it would be okay for him to take breaks too. 

The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts by Shinta Cho is a laugh inducing book from the title alone. However the book gives some information along side the chuckles, the whys and hows of gas are explained. Expect laughter and silly noises, but toddlers simply love this book. Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi is another informative but laughter inducing book to share. 

Once Upon A Potty by Alona Frankel is available in both girl and boy versions, I have linked to the boy version since that is the one I have actually read. It is a very basic potty training book for toddlers, giving them the essentials of what they need to know and do. In a similar vein is My Big Boy Potty by Joanne Cole and The Potty Book by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, both of which are also available if girl or boy editions.

If your child is a big Sesame Street fan, you might want to pick up Too Big For Diapers, which makes potty instruction simple and easy. We follow Ernie as he ditches the diapers and learns to use the big boy potty all by himself. If this seems to be something that might be a hit in your house then Sesame Beginnings: Potty Time gives you the same lessons with baby Grover.

Finally yet importantly is A Potty For Me by Karen Katz. This book is interactive with flaps to lift and occupy your toddler as they sit and you wait for nature to take its course. This book is also good for toddlers that are not quite ready to use the potty to introduce the concept and basic practicalities of using the potty.

There are a large number of potty books out there, and these are some that were received well in my house, your child might rather watch videos or read a different selection of books. I think these are universally helpful and enjoyable by both parents and toddlers.

Book Review: Thursdays With the Crown by Jessica Day George

Thursdays With the Crown by Jessica Day George is the third book in the Tuesdays at the Castle series.  The story picks up right where Wednesdays in the Tower leaves off, so I would suggest reading the story in order for the most enjoyment. Castle Glower has been acting weird, so it's no surprise when two towers transport Celie, her siblings, and friends to an unknown land. The kids and Celie's pet griffin Rufus set out through the forest to figure out where they are and what has happened to their beloved Castle. Instead, they discover two wizards and an entire lost people, the oldest inhabitants of Castle Glower. And it seems they may know more of the Castle's secrets than Celie. But who is telling the truth and how will they get home?

Thursdays With the Crown continues with the same balance of adventure, fantasy, and character development that I expect from Day. Celie is still growing, and despite being the youngest of the group is a smart and independent young lady. I like the relationships that continue to grow and change, and the individual character growth in the core group of characters. I think that the adventure in this installation is very important. Readers discover more about the Castle’s origins and the conflicts in the land it was originally sent from. Like most disagreements the clashes of the past linger, and each side has their own version of events, each with a grain of truth. I think that this is a good lesson to help kids understand large conflicts, as well as making the story exciting.

Thursdays With the Crown is a perfect continuation of the story, but it really does need the foundation of the previous books to be enjoyed. I felt like it took be a chapter or two to get back into the world, but once I was there I had trouble leaving it behind. A fun and quick read for middle grade readers that like a read that has a little bit of everything. 

Book Review: I'm Undead and Hungry!: Meet a Zombie (Monster Buddies) by Shannon Knudsen and Chiara Buccheri

I'm Undead and Hungry!: Meet a Zombie is the latest book in the Monster Buddies series by Shannon Knudsen and Chiara Buccheri. Like the rest of the books in the series, this book combines popular culture, folklore, science, and fun. Roscoe is a zombie, he  came back from the dead. But don't be scared because Roscoe's not real. He's one of the monsters you meet in stories. Find out what turns people into zombies, learn about different kinds of zombies around the world, and discover where zombie stories come from. 
My son is a monster maniac. I'm Undead and Hungry! is right up his alley. There a silly and slightly scary cartoon illustrations combined with information about zombies in books and movies as well as from traditional stories from all parts of the world. I really like the matter of fact way both then and factual information is presented. It does not take the fun out of the monster, but just might take away the fear that might keep your little one up at night.

I'm Undead and Hungry! would be eaten up by monster fans, and could be used to explain to children that the monsters are not real. This could be exceptionally useful around Halloween when movies, costumes, and stories might be enough to spook even the bravest children.

Book Review: Dead Radiance by T.G. Ayer

Dead Radiance is the first book in the Valkyrie series by T.G. Ayer . This young adult novel is about foster child Bryn Halbrook. She had always seen a glow around certain people, but she did not know what it meant until a girl from school and then her best friend dies that she discovers the meaning of those beautiful golden auras. The glow is the sign of coming death. She struggles to understand who she is and why she was cursed with the ability to see the soon-to-be-dead. The new foster kid, Aidan, seems to fit in no matter what, making her feel even more pathetic. But when his affections turn to her, Bryn finds him hard to resist. Soon Aidan disappears, leaving behind a broken heart and a mysterious book that suggests Bryn might not be entirely human. Bryn is on the threshold of a great adventure and discovery. 

In Dead Radiance we meet Bryn, a loner that has learned from experience that it is better to keep to herself, since she rarely stays anywhere long. Lost in the foster care system she trusts almost no one and cares for very few- but those she does care about are extremely important to her. She is strong, smart, and able to take care of herself. It is only when Aidan joins the foster home that Bryn’s defense crack, only to feel betrayed. Secrets about her conception and Aidan’s work lead Bryn to understand that she is not quite human, and a startling night show her just how right she is. As a valkyrie Bryn discovers that some of her lessons in foster care hold true in Asgard too- and it is up to her to save the people that are most important to her.

Dead Radiance is an interesting romp, and I enjoyed the use of mythology and science intertwined rather than at war. The story was very well written, with a great concept and solid characters. The fights were exciting and occasionally epic. I enjoyed the story, there were just a couple moment when I felt it was a bit too long, but the adventure and action moments typically came and fixed that in short order.

Book Review: The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker by E.D. Baker

The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker is another fractured fairy tale win by E.D. Baker. Cory is a young tooth fairy in training who wants to be anything but. However her mother has been pushing her onto this path forever, and  there is no way the Tooth Fairy Guild or her mother will let that happen. When Cory quits after a horrible night on the job to find ways to help others, like babysitting Humpty Dumpty, helping Suzy organize seashells by the seashore, and trying to rid Marjorie Muffet’s house of spiders. It isn't until Marjorie asks Cory to play matchmaker that Cory taps into a power she never knew she had. As she tries to understand her new-found romantic visions, will Cory finally discover her own true path?

The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker is a fun and heart warming story about Cory facing off against other people’s expectations for her with her own happiness. She wants to do anything to help other people, rather than the task of collecting teeth. Her mother and the majority of the fairy land’s population thinks she is silly for wanting to leave a powerful guild- but she knows that she will not be happy dealing with teeth. I loved that her intelligence and creative solutions where what got her out of the majority of tough spots. It is her kindness and unknown power that get her out of the rest. Some great friends, determination, wit, and a bit of good fortune will see Cory to her happy ending. 

The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker  was a great read. While it is written for children, I think the coming of age and fractured fairy tail aspects will make this story resinate with older children, teens, and adults as well.

Early Book Review: Shaun the Sheep: The Flock Factor by Martin Howard and Andy Janes

Shaun the Sheep: The Flock Factor is a chapter book from the Tales from Mossy Bottom Farm series by Martin Howard and Andy Janes. It is currently scheduled for release on November 25, 2014. It’s talent-show time on the farm, and the roosters and chickens are banding together in hopes of beating out their rivals, the sheep. Meanwhile, Shirley, a sheep whose flair for singing is as large as her frame, has a big problem; a massive case of stage fright. Can Shaun the sheep convince his jittery friend to wow the mole judges and take home the prize?

Anyone that has watched the claymation movies or shows from the makers of Wallace & Grommet, Shaun the Sheep, or even Timmy Time for the youngest readers, will recognize the setting and humor found in Shaun the Sheep: The Flock Factor.  Shaun is the smarter than average sheep, who thinks and plots constantly, sometimes with the help or hindrance of the farmer’s dog and other barnyard animals. In this story, Shaun and the sheep have challenged the chickens in a talent contest, and frankly it does not look good for the sheep. Mad cap mishaps and Shaun looking out for his fellow sheep make the story move along and readers laugh and enjoy the ride. The humor is multi layered, making it a fun read for new readers all the way to adults. 

I would recommend Shaun the Sheep: The Flock Factor to readers of all ages, particularly those that enjoy British humor and shows like Wallace & Grommet, Shaun the Sheep, or even Timmy Time.

10 Children's Picture Books You Must Read, Even If You Don't Have Children

My childhood is filled with memories of books. Being read to, reading on my own, and by the time I was nine or ten reading under the covers with a flashlight so I wouldn't get into trouble for staying up late. To nurture a love of books to last we need to introduce great books at every stage of reading development. Not just fun books, and not just books that teach us lessons. We need both, and if we can combine the two that is even better. Here are ten picture books that I think ever child, and adult, needs to read at least once.

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack is a classic favorite. Max climbs into his wolf suit and gets himself into trouble. After he is sent to his room a jungle grows up around him and he enters the world were the wild things roam. The monster are huge and mismatched, but their actions and big eyes keep them from being truly frightening for children. The book speaks to both children and adults and helps each understand the other a bit better.

Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola is a retelling of an Italian folktale. Strega Nona is a grandmother witch with a magic pasta pot. As expected someone=e tries to use the pot when Strega Nona is not there, and it goes hysterically wrong. Similar to The sorcerer's apprentice in the lesson of not messing around with things you do not fully understand, do not have permission to handle or simply try to take shortcuts for selfish reasons. 

Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst show us that everyone has bad days, and helps us laugh and put ours into perspective. Poor Alexander is having a rough day. Gum in his hair, lunch without dessert, a trip to the dentist and worst of all having to watch kissing on television. Its all enough to make anyone want to more to Australia, especially young Alexander.

Harold And The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is a great book for showing adults and children just how far our imaginations can take up=s if we let it. Harold and his crayon creates his own path, a landscape, and world to explore. We see the power of art and creativity all stemming from one boy's imagination. What better way to encourage art, writing, any creative process than to remind yourself and introduce your child to the wonders that we can each create.

Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter is a cautionary tale about listening to your mother, but is still not stale after all these years. Directly disobeying orders to stay out of the garden Peter can not help himself, and gets himself in quite the mess because of it. The realism and truth of this book is much better, in my opinion, then some of the more white washed tales given to our children today.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a fantastic tale of unconditional love. Simple illustrations are the perfect mirror to the story. A tree loves a boy who befriends him and proceeds to give the boy literally everything of itself over the years as the boy grows up and his needs change. The tree requires nothing other than knowing that it is helping, and is happy to finally give the boy grown into an old man a place to sit when that is all it has left to give.

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss is a tale of nurturing and love of all life, no matter how insignificant it might seem. Dear Horton hears a cry for help from a speak of dust and does everything in his power to help whoever made that cry because "a person's a person, no matter how small".

The True Story of Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciesz tells the classic fairy tale from a different point of view. The wolf claims to have simply been looking for some sugar to make his granny a cake. Is he really to blame if his sneezes could blow down a house? Would it have been better if he had just let food go to waste? A great book to encourage everyone to think about the other side of every story. 

The Monster At The End Of This Book by Jon Stone is a strong favorite in my house. Poor Grover is terrified of seeing the monster at the end of the book, because he doesn't know quite what to expect. He tries everything he can to stop the reader from turning pages, but fails. Feeling foolish he discovers that he is the monster at the end of the book and there was nothing to fear.
No, David! by David Shannon follows the mischievous adventures of David. We see young David cause all kinds of trouble, breaking things, flooding the bathroom, coloring on the walls as Mom desperately pleads with find from off the page. However at the end of the day we see him assured that no matter what he is loved.

There are so many great children's books out there, these are just ten of my favorite picture books. For more suggestions pay a visit to your local library and spend some time in the children's room or talking to the children's librarian. You will be glad you did.

Blog Tour: Curmugeonism: A Surly Man's Guide to Midlife by Kelly Crigger

Curmugeonism: A Surly Man's Guide to Midlife


Discovering who you are is not just for 
teenagers. Midlife men must also rediscover 
the world around them while struggling with 
their own impending mortality and legacy, 
especially those who change careers and 

Middle-aged men like me are under siege, 
beset on all sides by personal ambition, 
internal expectations, familial pressure, 
 disillusionment, uncertainty, and legacy. 
It’s a constant battle to balance the needs o
the self and the needs of others and a struggle to 
discover which ones really take priority. Some 
win this battle and some tragically lose.

Curmudgeonism is a state of mind, unwavering, 
 unapologetic, and uninterested in what people think. 
We are the proverbial old dog that can’t be taught new tricks because we know the 
old tricks are tried and true. We have firm beliefs that can’t be shaken. Free trade is 
good. True leaders are rare. Happiness is a luxury. Golf is a waste of time and we 
don’t have enough years left to be unproductive. We don’t apologize for our views 
because we’ve spent half a lifetime developing them. Theory and idealism sounds 
good in school but only until it becomes cost prohibitive and the real world 
determines ground truth. Curmudgeons are uncaring about what people think 
and have low expectations on the world because it’s done little more than disappoint 
us. We’re middle aged and tired of looking, acting,  feeling the way people want 
us to, so we’re breaking out and being who we were meant to be; irascible curs 
who make the world a better place through brutal honesty. We see this as our 
duty and take it seriously. Buy the ticket. Take the ride.


Think you’re owed happiness? You’re not. Happiness is a luxury, not a necessity. 
Some say “if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing then don’t do it.” Those 
people are surprisingly more comfortable with a welfare Christmas and a moped 
than the average person. It’s idealistic, but many times unrealistic and as we’ve 
learned already, idealism has a cost.

The definition of happiness is different for everyone but one thing is for sure-it’s 
fleeting. Just when you think you’re on the verge of a touchdown, the goal line 
moves. The variables change and suddenly you’re on a quest to make it to the 
next level of happiness. Even then, you can accomplish your mission in life and 
buy a nice house, nice cars, and a baby giraffe and feel happy but then you realize 
you have to protect it. You have everything you wanted and a life that’s enviable. 
That means you have to maintain it. You have to keep it going. That adds pressure 
and makes you unhappy again. It’s a vicious cycle. 

The universe does not owe anyone a single atom of happiness and there’s no law 
that says you have to love your chosen profession. As long as a job provides 
income and necessities for the family then it can suck badger milk because true 
happiness for a man comes from being a provider. It’s our responsibility to take 
care of our kin and we want to fulfill that responsibility no matter how happy or 
unhappy it makes us. Curmudgeons sacrifice the happiness of the self for the 
needs of the family because we’re not egotistical or narcissistic.

Some Deepak Chopra Zen master schmuck will tell you that you have to be 
happy in life or that you should continually strive to find greater levels of 
happiness. That works for some, but if you’re a family man then you have 
the responsibility to provide for those you love and that's it. If you're not happy 
but you’re providing a good life then suck it up, cupcake.

My soul dies a little each day at work, but I provide a comfortable living for 
my family therefore I will be its punching bag and shut up and take it. Some 
days I hate what I’ve become but then I step through the doors of my house 
and it’s all washed away. Coming home from a day on the job is like finishing 
a hard ass gym workout. It sucked, but in the end it’s satisfying to know my 
sacrifice had a purpose and my good health means I will live to work another 
day and my family will be good to go a little longer. Men are wired to provide, 
even if it’s just for ourselves, and when anything threatens our ability to do that 
we freak out just a little bit.

On the grand scale of things happiness is a want, not a need. We need to provide. 
We want to be happy but if we're not happy, but we're providing then that's a form 
of happiness in itself or at the very least a form of satisfaction. I may not fit some 
liberal’s view of happy but I’m content and that’s good enough for me. 

Don’t agree? Quit your crappy job just to spite me. It’s not easy is it? Show me a 
job that pays as much as I'm making now that I can enjoy and then I'll listen to your 
"don't work in a job you hate" argument. Otherwise leave me alone. I have a family 
to provide for.

Where to purchase Curmudgeonism

Amazon - Kindle
Amazon - Paperback
B&N Nook

The Author
Kelly Crigger is an angry troll who lives under a bridge, eats goats that wander past, and throws their bones into the canyon of despair.
Kelly's Twitter / Facebook  / Goodreads

Follow the entire Curmudgeonsim Tour HERE

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