Never mind a monster under the bed; this one’s under the tub.
Jackson loves playing outside. He acquiesces to his mother’s demand that he bathe when he gets dirty since he knows that the Bath Monster’s second favorite food is dirty bath water. The implication is that dirty children are its first favorite, so Jackson is keen on keeping the monster satisfied by bathing and draining the tub. Eventually, however, he begins to doubt the Bath Monster’s existence and refuses to get into the tub. The next spread shows a filthy, clothed, and smug boy walking away with his teddy bear, unaware that underneath the floorboards, a huge, grimy Bath Monster expectantly looks at the pipe to the bathtub drain. Compelled by its hunger, the monster searches for its first favorite food. “Me?” Jackson asks looking out at the readers. The answer doesn’t come on the next page when his mother finds only the dirty teddy bear in Jackson’s bed; instead readers discover the punch line at book’s end in a note saying that Jackson left to make the Bath Monster’s first favorite food: mud pies. Throughout, Ross’ pictures of human characters (all white) channel the energy and humor of Quentin Blake’s art, and the illustrations generally help ease some choppy textual pacing.
Good, clean fun. (Picture book. 3-6)