The Wicked Big Toddlah Goes to New York

What It Is

Toddie, the world’s largest toddler, takes a sightseeing vacation with his family to New York City. Toddie enjoys landmarks such as Grand Central Station, Times Square and Yankee Stadium. However, he becomes separated from his parents and is very scared until he finds a lost dog. He befriends the dog and a bunch of kids they meet in the park, and continues sightseeing with them. Eventually, his parents realize Toddie is missing and start calling for him. Toddie gets a good idea — climb to the top of the Empire State Building to see if he can find them. It works! The family continues their silly sightseeing trip complete with a stop at the Statue of Liberty, which unbeknownst to his parents, Toddie brings home as a souvenir.

Why It’s Fun

The theme’s potential and hilarious title are what attracted me to this book. The illustrations are fun, especially the play on King Kong and the Empire State Building, but the fantasy doesn’t seem fully developed. Why is this “toddlah” so big and why isn’t anyone afraid of him at first sight? Why do he and his family talk funny, and why did his parents take so long to notice that their little boy was lost? Also, why didn’t his new friends offer to reunite Toddie with his parents? The story seems to be forced to fit the clever title instead of the other way around. Perhaps some of these questions were answered in the series first book, The Wicked Big Toddlah. If so, it would have been nice to have a reprise.

Who’s Going To Love It

This book would be best as a regional favorite. Being New England residents, we found the accent is fun to imitate, but those not familiar with the region may not get the joke since the author only mentions Maine as Toddie’s home at the end. The accent and frequent use of the word “wicked” are some of the nuances that make New England so charming, but not everyone knows that. I also found it curious that Toddie’s family eagerly visits Yankee Stadium. (In case you didn’t know, most New Englanders have great distain for the New York Yankees.) Perhaps the Red Sox were in town?

Reading Time

About 3 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

3 out of 10

Book Information

The Wicked Big Toddlah Goes to New York
By: Written and Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books (2011)
Approximate retail price: $16.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: 4 - 8


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