Archive for October 27, 2009


The Treasure Bath

The Treasure Bath by Dan Andreasen

This jolly wordless picture book has a toddler who is busily helping his mother bake a cake.  All messy after the cake goes in the oven, he is put in the bath.  His facial expression makes it clear that he is not happy to be headed there.  But once he is in the bath with his boat, his imagination goes to work and he is surrounded by colorful fish who join him in swimming down deep into the sea to find a treasure map.  They follow the map to the treasure chest which is filled with soap and shampoo.  From there he is grabbed by an eel and scrubbed by an octopus as a whale rinses him off with his spout.  The little boy complains to the fish about how he was treated, then he returns to reality in the bath with his hair neatly combed and his mother waiting to get him out.  And what is waiting when he gets out of the bath?  Cake! 

The joyful and jolly spirit of this book is what captured me immediately.  Yes, the little boy is grumpy when being put into the bath, but then the magic begins.  The scenes underwater are just as crisp and clear as those in reality.  The lines between the two are seamless, letting the book really feel like a vivid daydream.  Andreasen’s art is done in oil on bristol board and has a nice depth, great colors, and a perfect dappled effect in the underwater scenes. 

A sudsy, jolly book that is perfect for toddlers who may not enjoy baths and for those who do too.  Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from book received from publisher.

My Name is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed, illustrated by Catherine Stock

Sangoel’s father died in the war in Sudan and now he and his mother and sister are refugees headed for America.  Sangoel has little more than his name to take with him.  The family is put in a small apartment, dressed in donated clothing, and Sangoel starts school.  But no one ever says his name right.  They all say San-go-el and Sangoel worries that he has lost his name entirely.  That’s when Sangoel has a great idea and creates a t-shirt that uses symbols to tell them how to pronounce his name: a sun and a goal.  The children understand immediately and all of them start to create their own symbols for their names. 

This book concisely and concretely tells the story of a young refugee.  Though his life circumstances may seem distant and unique, readers will immediately relate to having their name pronounced incorrectly and the frustration and dilemma that it causes.  Williams and Mohammed have written just the right situation here to make Sangoel relatable and his circumstances universal.  They also explore the dizzying changes a refugee faces from not knowing how to cross the road to dealing with new appliances.  Stock’s illustrations are paintings that are colorful and realistic.  They work well with the story, as Sangoel and his family struggle to understand the new land they are in.

This is not an ideal story time book, rather it is best for longer discussions, building understanding, and learning about the world.  This would be well-used as a featured book in a unit or in a setting that allows discussion.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from book received from publisher.

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