A pull-the-tab book about the trials and tribulations of bathtime.
On each page of this English translation of a French board book, an animal parent prepares their child to take a bath in a Western-style bathroom. On many pages, the child resists the bath, but with one pull of a sliding tab, readers see the parent-child couple overcoming whatever hesitation may have originally existed. While the book’s back cover claims that the text’s goal is to “reassure” children about taking a bath, the book itself is too simplistic to accomplish this goal on its own, presenting only one conflict per page and leaving it up to caregivers to help readers understand how the character’s fear, doubts, or stubbornness were allayed. Some of the strategies—such as making a hat out of bubbles to counteract fears of getting one’s hair washed—are useful for young families, while others—such as splashing water on each other to test the temperature—are unlikely to translate to real life. Furthermore, while the book alternates between mothers and fathers giving baths, the animals being bathed are all referred to using male pronouns, thereby limiting what could have been a wide array of gender diversity. For children, however, the tabs are fascinating and fun, and the colorful illustrations and simple dialogue-driven text lend themselves to an entertaining read-aloud.
When separated from its purported goals, the book is a fine addition to toddler shelves. (Board book. 2-4)