On Oh No, Gotta Go!

Before becoming a parent, I never appreciated how easy it was to leave the house on a quick errand. Grab the keys, and out the door, lickety-split. Four kids later, I now know how good I had it.  These days, everything takes twice as long, especially considering the, “let’s try not to be completely embarrassing,” checklist that is burned into my mommy-brain. Don’t forget to…make sure they aren’t wearing flip-flops when it’s raining outside, make sure tomato sauce/chocolate/cheeto dust is cleaned off of face/hands/hair, pack the necessary keep-them-in-the-shopping-cart and get-them-off-the-swing-and-back-into-the-carseat bribes…and the list goes on. So it is understandable if every once in a while I forget, before I herd them into the car, to ask the most crucial question of all… “Do you need to use the bathroom?

In the book I chose this week for Perfect Picture Book Friday, we see a girl’s parents experience that dreaded moment when a small voice pipes up from the back seat and says, “I need to go potty…RIGHT NOW!” And the even more dreaded moment when you look around and realize that there isn’t really anywhere to go. In OH NO, GOTTA GO! Susan Middleton Elya uses rhyme and a sprinkling of Spanish words to tell the tale of this family frantically in search of a restroom.


  • Written By: Susan Middleton Elya
  • Illustrated By: G. Brian Karas
  • Putnam Juvenile; Bilingual edition, June 30, 2003
  • Suitable For: Ages 2 and up
  • Topics/Themes: Multicultural, Language learning, Potty Time
  • Opening/Synopsis: “We were out driving, down the camino. Papá and Mamá were dressed muy fino. The backseat was mine, my favorite spot, until I remembered the thing I forgot. ‘Where is un baño? Dónde está? I really do need one,’ I told mi mamá.”
  • The narrator in this charming story is a little girl who needs to find a bathroom. But it is Sunday in her small town, which means most places are closed, and her parents must drive around until they find somewhere that is open. Elya uses this trip around town to introduce Spanish words to the reader.
  • Links to Resources: Well the first thing to mention is that there is a glossary in the back of the book for all of the Spanish words she introduces in the story. My kids and I have spent a lot of time reading through them and learning the pronunciations. Elya also has an exercise on teaching rhyme with the Spanish words from this book here.
  • Why I Like this Book: I love reading this book out loud! Between the rhyme and the Spanish words, it is a super-fun read. And it is very clever, because the rhyme actually helps with the pronunciation. Since you know it is supposed to rhyme with the English word above it, it becomes clear how you are supposed to say it. And the drawings of G. Brian Karas, as usual, are just darling. Parents will appreciate the humor of the child who always has to GO as soon as you leave the house, and children will turn the pages to see what surprises are in store as they follow along on this family’s search for a bathroom.
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