Max Archer, Kid Detective
The Case of the Wet Bed
Written by Howard J. Bennett, MD
Illustrated by Spike Gerrell
48 pages • Published 2011 (Magination Press)
Recommended Age Range: Kindergarten through 4th grade.
Publisher's Summary: Max’s friend Billy Parker is tired of waking up wet, and wants to figure out how to stop his bedwetting. Max knows how. He used to wet the bed, and he is ready to share his proven plan for staying dry.
Dr. Annie's Takeaways
Recommended for: Written by a pediatrician, this book is excellent for a child who experiences regular bed-wetting and who is feeling embarrassed or ashamed of this. It very effectively destigmatizes nocturnal enuresis (i.e., nighttime bed-wetting) with its cool kid detective protagonist who shares that he wet the bed until he was 11-years-old, and it provides a few tips for reducing frequency of bed-wetting.
Would a child like it? A child dealing with bed-wetting will likely be incredibly relieved to hear that they aren’t the only one struggling to stay dry. The tips may provide some hope that there is something they can do to decrease bed-wetting.
Evidence-Based Practices: Psychoeducation
Tone: Validating, collaborative
Story Quality: This book is fabulously destigmatizing. Max is kind of cool (he’s a kid detective with a private eye vibe), and he right away shares that he struggled with bedwetting until he was 11-years-old. The book is somewhere between a picture book and an early chapter book. It’s divided into “chapters” and there are a lot of words on some of the pages, but most of the pages have a big, colorful illustration as well.
Illustrations: Cheerful cartoons with a teal and orange palette.
Representation: Max the detective is a White boy with a White mother and a White father. Max lives on a city street with attached homes and diverse neighbors. Billy is an 8-year-old White boy who wants to stop wetting the bed. Although nocturnal enuresis is more common in boys than girls, I wish this story included more diversity.
Psychological Practices: I chose this story for how destigmatizing it is of nocturnal enuresis. Max’s mom reminds his dad early on in the story that “no one wets the bed on purpose.” Max tells Billy how common bed-wetting is, and he shares about the anatomy of urine production and expulsion to demystify it. Max shares several tips with Billy to help increase the likelihood that he’ll stay dry overnight, including making sure to poop regularly (to decrease pressure on one’s bladder), paying attention to the signals of needing to pee throughout the day, and rehearsing having to pee at night and getting out of bed to use the toilet. Dr. Bennett is a pediatrician, and I am not, so these are likely helpful tips, but I cannot vouch for them. It is important to consult with a child’s pediatrician about these strategies.
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