Who knew there were so many different ways to come clean?
Eleven colorful two-page spreads (illustrated in cut paper, ribbon and pastel) show a variety of animals bathing, with accompanying two-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 by other 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 through the child's whole 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 the penultimate 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)