The Honest Toddler Review
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Unabridged Digital Audiobook
Runtime: 8 hours, 16 minutes
Read by Kyle McCarley

By the end of her firstborn’s first year, the average mother has read her baby weight in parenting books—all of which have very strong (and often contradictory) viewpoints on the care and feeding of small children. But author and mommy-blogger Bunmi Laditan and her spirited toddler throw all of that advice right out the fingerprint-smudged window in The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting.

This hilarious parenting guide wasn’t written by a self-righteous parent or childless pediatrician; instead, it offers valuable advice through the eyes of an actual toddler. For that reason, it won’t teach you how to discipline, potty train, or sleep-train your child—because your child believes that her actions are always justified, that her diapers are perfectly comfortable, and that the early toddler gets juice boxes, unlimited access to Disney Junior, and anything else that will allow Mom just a little bit of peace and quiet. It will, however, teach you how to get higher reviews in your role as unpaid intern to a tiny dictator.

The Honest Toddler is my kind of parenting book: the smart, sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek kind. Instead of overwhelming readers with unreasonable expectations or guilt trips, it simply gives tired parents something to laugh about—and when you’re raising a spirited toddler, sometimes a good laugh is the only thing standing between you and a total nervous breakdown.

While other parenting books—even the humorous ones—tend to make their own opinions clear, sometimes to the point of shaming those who don’t share their parenting styles, The Honest Toddler is refreshingly all-encompassing in its parent-shaming. No one is safe from this child’s disdain—from overachieving moms who dress their kids in hipster garb while feeding them organic, homemade snacks to the moms who schedule bedtimes around TV shows and update their Facebook status during extended games of Hide and Seek. All have fallen short in their parenting techniques and are desperately in need of emergency training by this no-nonsense toddler. And the observations are all so ridiculous (yet so spot-on) that it’s impossible to be offended by any of it. Instead, you’ll simply laugh along, comforted by the fact that you’re not the only one with a crazy, spirited toddler—and no matter how hard you try to be the perfect, put-together mom of a healthy, happy, and obedient little angel, all your child really wants is buttered toast, red juice, the freedom to do as he or she pleases, and your undivided attention.

Unfortunately, though, when presented in book format, Honest Toddler’s commentary doesn’t have the same quick wit as it does when delivered in tweets and Facebook posts. It tends to repeat topics and stray off-topic from time to time, too. But the book’s greatest flaw is its narration. Though Kyle McCarley’s smug, condescending tone sometimes fits the book’s style, he often goes so far over the top with his narration that he sounds less like a lovably narcissistic toddler and more like a conceited comic who’s a little too impressed by his own jokes—and that takes away from the book’s good-natured humor.

If you’re raising your own spirited little one, though, The Honest Toddler is required reading. It’s guaranteed to hit close to home, making you laugh until you cry as you hear your own parenting stories told through the eyes of a stubborn little person. Be warned, though, that you may not want to listen to this book within earshot of your toddler; it may give him or her some dangerous ideas.

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