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THE DIRTY LITTLE BOY  by Margaret Wise Brown


by Margaret Wise Brown & illustrated by Steven Salerno

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-890817-52-X

Proclaiming "I am one dirty little boy," a lad asks his busy mother for a bath—but she instead sends him off to see how the animals clean themselves. The results may not be quite what Mama had in mind. The first picture-book version of an episode last seen in print over 40 years ago, this has been freshened up with a light editorial massage, and furnished with illustrations that, like Salerno's pictures for Bill Martin's Chicken Chuck (2000) are all exaggerated action and huge, bold, energetic brushstrokes. Getting no good results from splashing in a puddle like a bird, rolling in mud like a pig, trying out a wire brush (horse), or licking his hands to wipe his face (cat), the boy returns home for a sudsy bath, and is last seen bare, dripping, gleaming, and beaming to beat the band. The easy intimacy between tiny child and "big, round"—not to say enormous—mother comes through clearly, as does that distinctly childlike voice that generally marks Brown's prose. Not since Harry the Dirty Dog (1956) has the twin adventure of getting grimy, then scrubbing it all off, been better captured. (Picture book. 4-6)