Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Review: The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laditan



Title: The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting
Author: Honest Toddler...written under the supervision of Bunmi Laditan
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Source: ARC provided by the author for an honest review

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

Bracingly candid, sweetly indignant, and writing with an unchecked sense of entitlement, the Internet’s wildly popular Honest Toddler delivers a guide to the parenting techniques he deems acceptable (keep the cake coming and the apple juice undiluted).

The toddler stage can be a rude awakening for parents, whose sweet infants morph, seemingly overnight, into tyrants ready to turn simple errands into hellish and humiliating experiences. Trying to convince your defiant darling to do something as simple as put on her shoes can feel like going to war. It’s not all blood, sweat, and tears, though. Toddlers can be charming little creatures, with their unfettered enthusiasm, wide grins, and ready hugs. In fact, what makes toddlers so fascinating is their unique blend of cute and demonic behavior. A toddler will take your hand and say "I love you," then slap you in the face.

Now, The Honest Toddler provides an indispensable guide to parenting that places the toddler’s happiness front and center. Who better to instruct parents on the needs of toddlers than a toddler himself?

In a voice that is at once inimitable and universal, The Honest Toddler turns his sharp eye to a wide range of subjects, including play date etiquette, meal preparation, healthy sleep habits, and the pernicious influence of self-appointed experts and so-called doctors. The result is a parenting guide like no other, one that will have moms and dads laughing through tears as they recognize their own child in the ongoing shenanigans of one bravely honest toddler.


My Review:

First question: are you familiar with the Honest Toddler already?  If not, please visit her (yes, it's a her! A mystery that this book finally answered for me) blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages first.  When you're done feeling ashamed and altering your parenting style (if you're a parent) or laughing your arse off (if you're not), come back and read my review.

Done?  You're a fan now, right?  At the very least, you're flabbergasted to the point of intrigue.  Okay then.

Honest Toddler is an anonymous...toddler who has been sharing her young wisdom with the world through social media since May 2012.  I wrote to HT a few months ago, promising to lower the ratio of water to juice in Small Fry's sippy cup if I could review an ARC of her upcoming parenting guide.  HT (and/or her mom) agreed to the deal, and thank goodness.  Because now I can share this important manifesto with the world.

Honest Toddler has a pretty simple philosophy on parenting.  Fewer Pinterest meals, more being allowed to roam pantsless, and stop "making a big deal".  It sounds easy, but as a parent, I often found myself taking HT's admonitions and suggestions to heart.  I learned a lot of important life facts from this book.  Did you know:

-That Grover Cleveland and Abraham Lincoln were not potty trained?
-That the "it" being cried out in the "cry it out" sleep method...is love?
-That 50% of toddlers who wake up at 5am are gifted, and the other 50% have above average intelligence?
-That the human body is 75% juice?

I know.  I'm hitting you with some serious knowledge right now.  Honest Toddler has opened my eyes to the true nature of parenting and our lives will never be the same.

Besides the fact that this book has bettered me as a mother, it's also just all-around hilarious.  If you're already familiar with HT's voice from the blog/Facebook/Twitter updates, you know what to expect: a straightforward, sarcastic 'tude dispensing life lessons that leave every toddler parent wondering if their very own precious angel assisted in writing them.  Honest Toddler has 124,000+ likes on Facebook for a very simple reason: because every.single.person who has parented a 1- to 3-year-old can picture their kid thinking most (if not all) of the words that HT shares with the world.  The Child's Guide to Parenting takes that and puts it in book form.

If you're a loyal HT reader, you may recognize some of the material from HT's blog, but the reiterated information is reformatted in a way that doesn't make it feel repetitive.  And there is enough new material to make it a worthwhile read for the longtime followers.  New followers will find it easy to figure out HT's style early in the book, as each section begins with some Dear-Abby-ish letters to HT from parents, followed by a  chapter that delves further into each particular issue (potty training, food shopping, toddler entertainment, etc).

You all know that I'm a pretty discerning reader, but I have no complaints here.  People who haven't parented a toddler might not feel the humor as much, but parents of the world: you need to read this book.  As soon as you get off Pinterest and get your kid occupied with unlimited servings of cake.

Much thanks to HT's handler, Bunmi Laditan, for forwarding me a copy of this book for review!

Are you an Honest Toddler follower?  If you're a parent, how has HT changed your life?  Shameful parenting confessions welcomed and encouraged.

12 comments:

  1. LOL, that *is* some serious knowledge! I follow Honest Toddler on Twitter and she (!!) never fails to crack me up :)

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    1. Her FB page is great too. I pretty much share every single thing she posts because it's all TRUE!

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  2. I loved the book and you're right, every parent can hear a bit of their own child in HT's words. Hilarious book (and FB, and Twitter, etc.)

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    1. Yes, that's totally the draw with HT. Laditan has done a great job crafting a universal toddler voice!

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  3. I'm not familiar with Honest Toddler (I will check it out), but it sounds hilarious!

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  4. The audiobook I'm listening to now is The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which is turning out to be kind of humorous/rueful look-back at parenting a strong-willed child and thinking you're in charge.

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    1. Hmmm, interesting...I'd heard of that one but was kind of turned off by the subject matter (the overzealous parent etc etc) but your description makes it sound way different!

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  5. HT is my favorite! I am currently parenting an almost two year old and picture him saying these things. Can't wait to the read the book.

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    1. My "Small Fry" is also almost 2, so I feel like I "get" HT...on a visceral level.

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  6. Toddler's are my favorite age. I fell in love with my child when he was that age and every toddler ever since has been a hoot to encounter. From 1.5 to about 4.5 years of age they are really all the same which is why I love reading HT and can't wait to read the book.

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    1. It's so true. They each have a distinct personality but their particular "issues" are all very similar at that age. :)

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