Children's Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, January 2000
Page Four of Four

Once Upon a Potty with Audio Cassette (For a Boy) by Alona Frankel

HarperFestival, November 1999.
Board Book, with Audio Cassette
Ages 1-3
ISBN: 0694701033.
Ordering information: |

Also available:
Once Upon a Potty with Audio Cassette (For a Girl)
Ordering information: |

Once Upon a Potty with Audio Cassette (For a Boy)
by Alona Frankel "This is Joshua. Joshua is a little boy. I am Joshua's mother. I'd like to tell you about Joshua and his new potty." So announces a friendly looking mom in this potty training classic, packaged with a charming mini-book and an audiotape of the Potty Song (a hilarious sing-along, guaranteed to inspire great feats on the potty). Alona Frankel takes a no-nonsense approach to explaining the human body and its functions. The story follows Joshua's potty training adventures: seeing his first potty, learning to use it, and even having the occasional accident. Eventually, Joshua is a real potty pro. With cute illustrations and an interesting story, this is one potty training book that really works.

Violet & Claire by Francesca Lia Block

Joanna Cotler Books, October 1999.
Hardcover, 128 pages.
Ages 13 and up
ISBN: 0060277491.
Ordering information: |

Violet & Claire
by Francesca Lia Block In modern-day Los Angeles, Violet is a dark teen, full of angst, who is determined to be a famous screenwriter. She prowls the high school thinking of plots and settings, meticulously recording them in her laptop computer. Everywhere Violet is dark and intense, Claire (a budding poet) is light, fragile, and almost fairy-like. In fact, when Violet first meets her, Claire has a pair of fairy wings taped to her back. Both are shunned at school, and the two form a very close friendship. But when Violet becomes an overnight success, the two best friends are driven apart by fame, jealousy and ambition. Can the two halves of the perfect girl find a happy, Hollywood ending?

Francesca Lia Block has a style of writing that is, at once, recognizable and unique. Clearly a poet herself, Block is skillful at using her words to delight, horrify, and enchant -- all at the same time. This story shows the dark side of high school and the Hollywood scene, and how two girls make a connection which is real and affecting. Block writes with authority when dealing with adolescents, and her dialogue rings true. Fans of I Was a Teenage Fairy, the Weetzie Bat books, Girl Goddess #9 etc. will definitely want to add this to their collection. Those who haven't yet read Francesca Lia Block will be in for a shockingly pleasant surprise. Highly recommended.

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