Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Polka Dot Fixes Kindergarten by Catherine Urdahl

 Polka Dot Fixes Kindergarten by Catherine Urdahl, illustrated by Mai S Kemble

Rating: 4 stars

As Lorelei and I walked to the pool last week, she sang out: "I see London, I see France, I see Mommy's underpants!"

I stopped in my tracks.  Hmm.  Was this my first bout with "potty mouth?"  Was this "potty mouth?"  I wanted to freeze time for a second to ponder it.  Since I couldn't find the remote control on Life, I (kindly but firmly) told Lorelei it wasn't a nice thing to say, and not to say it again.

"Sorry, Mommy," she mumbled.  "That's okay," I replied.  "You didn't know...but now you do."

Flash forward a few days, to bedtime.  We're reading Polka Dot Fixes Kindergarten. 

Polka Dot tries to clean up a mess with her runny soap.
It doesn't work.
Polka Dot is a quirky little girl who lives (or at least hangs out a lot with) with her equally quirky grandfather.  He fixes things for her, and puts together a little fix-it kit for her first day at kindergarten.  It includes duct tape (I love him!), runny soap, and dotted bandages.  Polka Dot is nervous but not scared, until she meets a not-so-nice girl.  (I'd like to think there are no Mean Girls in kindergarten.  As Lorelei is about to start, I'd like to keep this fallacy up for a few more months so I sleep better at night.)  The girl taunts Polka Dot in typical little kid ways, and Polka Dot, throughout the day, shrinks more and more into herself.  It's definitely sad to witness.

Then, on the playground, the not-so-nice little girl's dress tears in back.  And then the table is turned, and another kid taunts this girl: "I see London, I see France, I see..."  Aha!  That's where Lorelei got it from!  Lorelei confirmed this with a nod.  I pointed out the expression on the little girl's face, as she reacted to this poem being recited at her.

"How do you think she feels?" I asked.  "Bad.  Sad," was her reply.  "Right.  If you say that to someone, that is how you are going to make them feel.  That's why I didn't want you to say it again."

"Oh.  Got it."

It was a good closure to the potty mouth mystery, a happy ending there in Lorelei's bedroom.  She learned a valuable lesson I hope she remembers and applies.  And in the book, Polka Dot fixes the little girl's dress with duct tape.  And, of course, they end up friends.

(Slightly related aside: I went to Catholic school growing up, and my mom would staple our school badges to our shirts and hems when they fell.  I smile at the memory.  Just like her, sewing is not in my DNA.)


  1. not sure it counts as potty mouth...but I love her sweetness just the same.

  2. What a sweetie, Lorelei. It's hard growing up!