Catch That Baby! by Nancy Coffelt, illustrated by Scott Nash
Starting from the title pages, Rudy’s mom has to catch him to get him into the bath. But once the bath is over, the real chase begins as “Nudie Rudy” runs through the house. Mom tries to catch him, but he runs into the living room. His Mom and brother run after him, but he’s into the kitchen. Now the dog, his father, and his sister join the chase. But Rudy is off into the back of the house, filled with plants. Now grandma and grandpa help look, because Rudy has disappeared. What in the world could he be up to now?
Coffelt’s text ties this wild naked baby chase closely with The Gingerbread Man as more and more characters join in trying to catch Rudy. The story telling is split between narrative and dialogue, shown in speech bubbles. This keeps the pace of the story racing along with Rudy from page to page.
Nash’s art has bright colors and a comic book feel to its lines. He uses objects and the dog to cleverly block any frontal nudity from view, instead showing chubby legs, flying feet, and a bare bottom.
There is a real humor to the book, so much so that you can almost hear the giggle of this naked little racing boy. The twist at the end is endearing and a natural part of the story. A great pick for toddlers, this book is appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Aladdin.
Pirates Don’t Take Baths by John Segal
Some piglets hate, hate, hate taking a bath. In fact, this little pig NEVER wants to take a bath again. So he decides to become someone who never takes a bath. Like a pirate! But his mother points out that he gets seasick. So the little pig decides to be a cowboy until his mother reminds him that cowboys sleep on hard, cold ground. How about an Eskimo, well they eat things like blubber and liver. The piglet goes from one idea to the next, his mother giving reasons why it isn’t a good option. Until finally, he decides to become a treasure hunter who searches for treasure – under water!
Segal has created a book that nicely mixes avoiding baths and different types of jobs. He infuses the entire book with humor that keeps it moving quickly forward. The relationship between the young pig and his mother is also a pleasure to read. Book design helps in reading the book aloud by having the mother’s comments in italics.
Segal’s art, done in pencil and watercolor, plays white space against fully colored pages to great effect. Reality of the mother and child is done against a white background while his fantasies of different jobs are done in full color backgrounds. The illustrations have strong edges and the watercolor gives a softness that is very appealing.
A fun look at avoiding baths through imagination, this book is appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Philomel Books.
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.