Perfect Picture Book Friday: TOBY TOOTLES Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. When I first heard the topic of today’s featured book, I was sure I was not going to like it. I’ve never been a fan of what some might call ‘potty humor’. But you know what? TOBY TOOTLES is so much more than that! It’s a book that EVERY child will relate to (and also every adult) because we ALL have had embarrassing moments JUST LIKE THOSE IN THE STORY and it’s both empowering and comforting to feel seen and heard.


Written by Stephanie Gibeault

Illustrated by Mary Sullivan

Published by Sleeping Bear Press (March 15, 2023)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Embarrassing moments, SEL, multigenerational

Synopsis: From Amazon:
Toby is having the best birthday party ever until an ill-timed and unintended toot draws unwelcome attention and teasing. Poor Toby–he is so embarrassed! And now everyone is calling him “Tootles.” To get out from under his cloud of shame, Toby goes to visit his grandmother, hoping to get some sympathy and understanding. But as it turns out, Grandma is a bit of a gasbag herself with her own windy issues. She toots not once, not twice, but THREE times during Toby’s visit. And she’s not even embarrassed about it! But Toby is. He’s embarrassed by her and for her. It’s only when Toby is facing another digestive episode that he realizes maybe it’s time to follow Grandma’s lead and not let little things get in the way of enjoying life. After all, gas happens! A sweet and funny lesson on how to handle life’s hiccups and other unexpected “eruptions.”

Why I Love This Book:
1. The topic is something that every kid and every adult will relate to – and an SEL book about farting and learning to be comfortable in your own skin is much needed!
2. The illustrations are so much fun – and I love that the characters are animals – this allows the child reader to connect but not feel anyone is pointing a finger at them.
3. The text provides so many wonderful examples of embarrassing moments. I believe that many of us worry too much about what others are thinking. And we often worry about what others are thinking of the people we are with…I know that was true for me. When I was a kid, I wished my dad wouldn’t tell jokes that I was sure others wouldn’t find funny. I love that the author shows us how embarrassed Toby is when his grandmother farts.

Make Some Noise Putty

Photo courtesy:

What a fabulous activity to pair with this book! Making farting noises is something many kids love to do…and creating this special Noise Putty is fun and educational, too. It’s always a plus when we can combine Science and Math with Reading. For detailed instructions, visit

I know I love to hear about the story behind the story…and I think all of you do, also. It’s always inspiring and informative to learn about another author’s path to publication. And happily, Stephanie stopped by to chat. Welcome, Stephanie!

STEPHANIE: Thank you for spreading the word about my debut picture book, Vivian. Toby Tootles is a social emotional learning (SEL) book with a message about feeling comfortable in your own skin, but on the surface it’s a funny fart book. Because of that, I almost didn’t submit this manuscript to my agent. I wasn’t sure how she would feel about the potty humor. I initially queried her with a middle grade nonfiction project, and when she asked to see more material, I chose several other nonfiction projects and only two fictional picture books – neither of which were Toby Tootles. I worried about blowing my chance if she didn’t find farts funny. It was only after we signed the contract that I risked letting her read it. And it tickled her fancy. In fact, it was the second manuscript we submitted to editors! Thank goodness I took a chance and let her read my tale about toots.

WOW…I love hearing this, Stephanie. If you love your story, go for it. We do need to have confidence in what we write about…and if the topic is close to our heart for one reason or another, that really helps. And honestly, this story is so very important because it touches on a topic that most people will relate to: bodily function embarrassment. I actually love this book because I think it will help kids to feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Here’s a little bit about author Stephanie:
Stephanie Gibeault earned a Bachelor of Science degree in ecology and evolution and a Master of Science in animal behavior. As a former biologist and certified professional dog trainer, she loves writing about dogs and other animals including farting rabbits! She spends her days just outside of Toronto, Canada, convincing her cat Heton not to take over her keyboard. Her middle grade book Can’t Get Enough Dog Stuff (co-authored with Moira Rose Donohue) releases in April from National Geographic Kids. And there are more books about animals to come including From Calculating Chimpanzees to Brainy Bees: Mathematical Abilities in Animals (Candlewick/MIT Kids Press, illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett, published by), Making Sense of Dog Senses: How Our Furry Friends Experience the World (Owlkids Books, illustrated by Raz Latif), and Dogs Versus Humans: Showdown of the Senses (Owlkids Books, illustrated by Bambi Edlund).

For more information, visit
Follow Stephanie on Twitter: and Instagram:

And, dear friends, please remember that the best way we can show an author or an illustrator that we love their books is to:
Buy them: Amazon Indie Bookstores
Review them
Tell friends about them and share on social media
Ask your local library to purchase copies for their collection

Please make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of TOBY TOOTLES. Maybe you can share an embarrassing moment when you were a child. Please share on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever your favorite social media channels are for extra tickets in the giveaway hat.
And don’t forget to flutter back tomorrow for a special Board Book Saturday post with Amber Hendricks and BUTTERFLIES SOAR. Plus next week we’ll be celebrating a Cover Reveal on Monday for AN OFRENDA FOR PERRO by Judith Vales B and a Cover Reveal on Tuesday for Bábo: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day by Astrid Kamalyan. Wow…two cover reveals in one week…we are so lucky! And then we are featuring CALL ME CALVIN by Mary Vander Plas for Perfect Picture Book Friday and our Will Write for Cookies post on Saturday will shine the spotlight on one of my dearest CPs, Ellen Leventhal and her brand-new nonfiction picture book biography, DEBBIE’S SONG: The Debbie Friedman Story.

Phew! That’s a lot of blog posts…and what that means is that there are a lot of awesome picture books being published! Hurray! I’m also busy as I continue to contact the fabulous #50PreciousWords prize winners and connect them with the wonderful prize donors. What fun!

54 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: TOBY TOOTLES Plus Giveaway

  1. TOBY TOOTLE sounds like a wonderful book to read to children and help them talk about a difficult topic. Congratulations, Stephanie Gibeault! You chose a very relatable topic for kids and adults alike. I couldn’t possibly have counted the number of times this subject came up in the classroom. I can hear the laughter and comments and even see the looks. Mary Sullivan’s illustrations are adorable! Loved the fart putty too. A great interview, Vivian!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Congrats, Stephanie! Like Vivian, my first thought was, “not a fan of potty humor.” But, after reading the interview, I see how relatable and important this book is for kids. Especially the part about them being embarrassed by the adults in their lives. What a universal emotion that one is. Look forward to reading this and spreading the word!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a sweet and important SEL book! I have many embarrassing moments from childhood – you’ve inspired me to write them up! I can’t wait to see your book! Congrats!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Liz! I think childhood can be a super embarrassing time, almost as bad as adolescence.😉 You should absolutely write those experiences down.


  4. Aww, who has NOT been embarrassed by a surprise gas attack? This sounds like just the answer. I was always embarrassed as a child because I developed early…and there was plenty there for others to notice and tease me about. Thanks for sharing this experience!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing about your childhood teasing! It’s so hard when we’re young to handle embarrassment. I hope this book helps kids find ways to laugh it off and move on.

      Liked by 2 people

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