Learning to Say “Pooh-Pooh”

Submitted by: Hannah and her amazing mom

I started reading Madeline to my daughter Hannah when she was tiny, around 2 months old.  We’d read it two to three times a week before bedtime until she was at least 2-and-a-half, and still read it very frequently. She learned so much from the book.

Her first deliberate “happy” and “sad” faces were when we “smiled at the good and frowned at the bad and sometimes they were very sad.” She learned about being brave and independent from Madeline saying “pooh-pooh” to the tiger in the zoo. And of course, she has now mapped out an itinerary for the trip to Paris she is dying to take.

Cover of Madeline book

But the most meaningful thing we took away from the book was eliminating the fear of hospitals, which was very important last spring and summer when my husband, Andrew, was so sick. He was hospitalized three times for serious issues before he died; each time, while he was quite sick, we knew he was coming home and it was a great comfort to be able to tell Hannah that Daddy was in the hospital “just like Madeline.” The scar on his head from his brain surgery was “just like Madeline’s!” and she asked him a number of times whether he got a lot of candy and toys when he was there.


The book really took the fear out of what could have been a very confusing time and allowed us to contextualize a serious situation in safe language she could understand.

We still read Madeline a lot — I call it the guidebook. She is all over me to go to Paris, which is totally not happening for several years!

Name: Hannah and mom
Age: 4 years old
Hometown: New York, NY


This post was originally submitted for the 2014 RED Day (renew, energize, donate) community service project of Keller Williams Realty International. BookSpring is pleased to be partnering again with Keller Williams for RED Day, May 14th, 2015.

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Learning to Say “Pooh-Pooh”
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