Animals like to get clean/ just like you and me,” concludes Barner’s survey of critter hygiene. “When you take a bath today,/ which one will you be?” With prompting from genial, generously scaled collages, readers can let their bathtub imaginations run wild, imagining that they’re eels that “clean pointy teeth/ with some help from tiny shrimp” or monkeys who “groom messy hair/ to start the monkey day.” Subtly dimensional and textural, with just the right amount of fancifulness and anthropomorphism (smiles beam off every spread, and a bear cub shoots readers a wink), the cut-paper collages bring to mind portraits of favorite plush toys. While most of the images are tableau-style, others exhibit a surprising suppleness, capturing how a duck turns its head to “wash, preen, and primp” its feathers or how an elephant’s trunk functions as a handheld shower. Barner (Bears! Bears! Bears!) is as skillful with rhymes as he is with materials, offering verses that exude a love of mouth-satisfying sounds: “Bats keep wings soft and neat/ with lots of little licks./ Bears scratch against tall trees/ to rub off mud and ticks.” Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
"Well-conceived in its simplicity from beginning to end; even pre-readers can follow along. Nifty." - Kirkus Reviews"
"With prompting from genial, generously scaled collages, readers can let their bathtub imaginations run wild." - Publishers Weekly
PreS-K—Like bedtime stories, bath-time tales are a staple of the picture-book genre. This one covers the bathing habits of a variety of animals. Monkeys groom their hair, elephants spray and flap, ducks ruffle and preen, eels get help from tiny shrimp, pigs wallow, manatees are aided by fish, bats lick, bears scratch, whales scrub, and giraffes are nipped by helpful birds. Then this great cleanup ends in a soapy bathtub with a human child who is encouraged to act out all the rituals, e.g., "Comb your messy hair like the monkeys do" and "Wallow like a pig in a sudsy pool." The illustrations take this book above a simple recitation of bathing habits. Done in cut paper, ribbon, and pastel, they are big and bold, making the story suitable for group sharing. Animals are front and center and large, and all of the backgrounds are brightly colored with the cut paper. A winner for one-on-one sharing or lapsit programs.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
Who knew there were so many different ways to come clean?
Elevencolorful two-page spreads (illustrated in cut paper, ribbon and pastel) show a variety of animals bathing, with accompanyingtwo-line verses. Monkeys swinging from vines groom each other, while elephants use "cool, misty spray." Ducks ruffle wet feathers as they preen and primp, while eels get help from "tiny shrimp" in cleaning their teeth. Pigs wallow in the mud, and manatees are actually cleaned byother small fish. Bats lick their wings to keep them soft and neat while bears scratch against trees. Sharks line up to scrub against ocean vegetation and rocks, and giraffes get an assist from birds, who "nip pests with a peck." Finally, there's a little boy in a tub rub-a-dubbing and covered in bubbles. Then, a fitting encore: A longer poem against a background of bubbles and a child's bathtime accessories goes throughthe child'swhole bath routine with shoutouts to some of the animals ("Wash your elephant ears with nice shampoo"). Barner's text is crisp and age-appropriate, but his well-composed, clever pictures really carry the story; each smartly uses a palette that is slightly different from all the others, with thepenultimate child picture incorporating all the colors in its striped wallpaper.
Well-conceived in its simplicity from beginning to end; even pre-readers can follow along. Nifty. (Informational picture book. 3-6)