Title: When You Gotta Go!
Author: William Tellem
Illustrator: Debi Coules
Like the title says, When You Gotta Go!, this children’s story written by William Tellem and illustrated by Debi Coules says just that – about going to the bathroom! With such an unusual title and topic, one may be surprised of its contents.
This unnumbered but around twenty five page over-sized paperback book has a pastel drawing of a dad, mom, daughter and even dog with big buggy eyes of astonishment on the front jacket. True to its topic, the back cover depicts an unwinding roll of toilet paper which includes two book reviews written on the sheets.
Obviously aimed toward children mainly, adults may (or may not) enjoy reading this short story and even looking at the well-drawn pictures. The illustrations are eye catching, colorful in more than hues, and even a little over the top when it comes to one’s personal hygiene. There is no profanity or violence but there are discussions about relieving one self, voiding, pooping, and going number one or two without actually saying those words.
The short story is about the Jones family. It begins with a nice, pretty, happy family of three with even their pretty puppy joining in on smiles for a family portrait. Mr. Jones is a writer, Mrs. Jones is a surgeon and Priscilla Jones is a child who loves to play with her dolls and friends. However, when they have that special inside feeling that they have to go to the bathroom, their eyes bulge out and they let everyone know by saying “when you gotta go, you gotta go!” (intentionally misspelled)
As they say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” the drawings explain it all. Mr. Jones, with pants down, hairy legs showing, dons a gas mask amid the smells and squats on the john with a nearby dead plant and dead bird on the window sill. Mrs. Jones runs out during the middle of surgery and is too afraid to look at the contents of the commode after her rushed visit. Priscilla throws her doll away to race to the lavatory and succumbs to looking at her excrement. But in the end, when all three have that empty feeling, they are ready again for their family portrait. But this time the dog is not in the picture but shown on the next page, residing on the porcelain pot. The last two pages show author and illustrator, both with bulging eyes too, ready to “go.”
One cannot say this is the best way to discuss our managed manure, but it sure describes bathroom humor to the utmost.