You Can't Wear Panties
by Justine Avery
Suteki Creative

" never cease to amaze and delight us."

This work is geared toward children, specifically girls, of toilet-training age and experiences. The scenes go to and fro from those who can wear "Big-Girl Panties" to various others such as babies, careless children, and animals who can't. The text and drawings are designed to coax children to chant or yell the lines as an encouragement to become toilet trained. These are also used to explain why they "can wear Big-Girl panties," and the others cannot. The clever juxtaposition of the two lines "No ... YOU can't wear panties!" and "I wear Big-Girl panties!" highlights the difference between those who have crossed the threshold of being toilet-trained and those who haven't either made it yet or, in the case of some, cannot.

Avery and illustrator Kate Zhoidik present the subject as a challenge as well as a fun adventure. They also include blurbs about themselves that may help children (or at least their parents) relate to them in a more personal way. For example, Avery "was born in America, but ... is still growing up as a natural explorer with a curiosity for all things." Meanwhile, Zhoidok "is from Serbia, where she lives with her daughter and two guinea pigs. She likes to crochet toys and dance flamenco." These insights reflect their spirits of exploration and love of life, which are themes contained in the work itself. Although the subject seems, at first, to be presented competitively, as in an I-can-and-you-can't form, it is also shown as fun—an accomplishment that girls of a certain age and ability can or have achieved. The book encourages them to be proactive, happy, and humorous about this rite of passage.

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