March 22, 2019

The Reading Part of the Writing Life, Part 2

A few months ago I blogged about my reading pile. I ended that post by mentioning that I would soon write about books that incorporate empathy, tolerance and/or resilience. That's still to come...but not quite yet. Why? Because I still have my nose in potty-themed books. Although my forthcoming "potty books" (as I affectionately refer to them) are indeed written and are in the process of being illustrated, there is still plenty of potty research to be done before these books are ready to launch into the world in October.

Some of this research is a continuation of the process of finding comps, which is what I wrote about in the earlier post. Comp titles help me provide meaningful connections for teachers, librarians and booksellers when I'm talking about my own books. For example, recently I was chatting with a classroom teacher who was excited for my new potty books, but bummed because her kindergartners would be too old for them since they don't have any "potty problems." I quickly clarified that my books would actually be perfect for her kids, because they are for readers who have a penchant for potty humor, not necessarily kids with potty problems. I said my books are more along the lines of  The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of WhoDunit

Image Source: Indie Bound

crossed with  How I Became a Pirate.

Image Source: Indie Bound

I could have also said they are similar to Oh No, Gotta Go!

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...crossed with the silliness of  Walter the Farting Dog...

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...because any reader who likes Oh No, Gotta Go! or Walter the Farting Dog will probably get a kick out of Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty?

Written by Dawn Babb Prochovnic and Illustrated by Jacob Souva

and/or  Where Does a Pirate Go Potty?

Written by Dawn Babb Prochovnic and Illustrated by Jacob Souva

Being familiar with comp titles helps me give potential readers a better sense of what my books are like.

Being familiar with comp titles also helps me be a resource to teachers and librarians who are planning themed story times that align with my books. For example, the books referenced throughout this post (and this earlier post) would be good additions to a humorous potty-themed (or underwear themed) story time plan. Eventually, I will build a list of suggested titles for pirate-themed story times and cowgirl themed story times.

Other aspects of my current research is aimed at helping me gather ideas for my own story times and book events. For example, recently I read the songs in Alan Katz and David Catrow's On Top of the Potty

and listened to Bruce Lansky's Tinkle, Tinkle Little Pot CD

Image Source: Amazon

(yes, my family was thrilled) in hopes of getting some ideas for songs and dances that would be fun to introduce at potty-themed book events. This particular book and CD are definitely more focused on potty training, but listening to the songs inspired some ideas of my own that will be suitable for a more general potty humor themed event. A few weeks back, I happily discovered The Poop Song by (the typically more serious) singer/songwriter Lori Henriques. It's a fabulous song.

I do also make a point to read potty training books, because there will of course be some reader overlap, especially with fun books like Super Pooper and Whizz Kid: Potty Power!

Image Source: Indie Bound

Poop or Get Off the Potty

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and The Saddest Toilet in the World.

Image Source: Indie Bound

This research cracks me up (pardon the pun). There is one especially hilarious spread in The Saddest Toilet in the World where the toilet, that has run away, is pictured in all kinds of adventuresome scenes, like posing for a photograph with some new friends, playing chess, watching a movie... These are ridiculous ideas, which is why I love them so much. Readers that get a kick out of these humorous potty training books will likewise enjoy humorous potty-themed books, including my own.

I also suspect that adults who are drawn to the humor in the title of Oh Crap! Potty Training, by Jamie Glowacki, the self-proclaimed "Pied Piper of Poop,"

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...or folks drawn to humorous titles/book covers like the bestseller, Dave Barry is Not Taking This Sitting Down (written by none other than Dave Barry himself, who you might be interested in knowing was instrumental bringing International Talk Like a Pirate Day into the mainstream)...

Image Source: Indie Bound
... may well find my potty books amusing.

Some of the books in my research pile are simply about poop. In an earlier post I talked about Jane Kurtz and Allison Black's What Do They Do With All That Poo?

What Do They Do With All That Poo?

Along the same lines there is the more science-y Whose Poop Is That?

and the sillier Poo in the Zoo.

Image Source: Indie Bound

And, of course, you can't talk about these sorts of books without mentioning the classic book, Everyone Poops:
Image Credit: Indie Bound

Some of the books in my research pile simply align with a closely related theme: Underwear. I figure that the readers that are into humorous books about underwear will also be into humorous books about finding the right place to go potty. Some highlights: Creepy Pair of Underwear!

Image Source: Indie Bound

Polar Bear's Underwear:
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And my personal favorite underwear book: Vegetables in Underwear (for which I've recently discovered there is even a holiday version called Veggies in Holiday Underwear, due to come out this coming October when my books come out!).

Image Source: Indie Bound

Lastly (for this post, at least), in addition to reading a bunch of books, I've also been doing a ton of internet research about themed games, activities and novelties in preparation for my eventual book launch. I've been collecting all of these fun ideas on my Pinterest page. Although there are sections dedicated to pirates and cowgirls (and of course, sign language), my favorite section is the potty humor section, which is bursting at the seams! I'm also on the lookout for potty jokes and puns and funny pictures and signs, like this one posted on fellow author, Angela Diterlizzi's, Instagram page.

So there you have it. The sophisticated reading list from an author who can hardly wait until her own two potty books are ready to go!

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