THE TUB PEOPLE by Para Conrad


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A drama in the lives of seven diminutive wooden figures: parents, grandmother, doctor, policeman, child, dog. Mostly, they stand in that order on the edge of a bathtub; sometimes they have adventures in the bath--riding on the soap, bobbing about. One day, as the others watch in helpless dismay, the child goes down the drain; the others mourn his absence till at last the drain clogs, a plumber is summoned, and the child is restored to the family--which gets a new home on a windowsill whence the vast mountains of a rumpled bed may occasionally be explored. And now, for the first time, the child quietly changes position to stand between his parents. The unspoken, unseen other story, in which a human child plays with these toys, makes this curiously intriguing. Egielski (Hey, All, Caldecott Medal, 1987) contributes well-designed, deliberately static illustrations in keeping with the toys' immobility; the drama is in their perfectly possible situations--spinning toward the drain as the child is drawn in, the child stoically retrieved by the plumber's snake. Only their expressions change, says Conrad--but the change is so minimal that it actually occurs only where the story's drama also takes place: in the reader's imagination. Unusual, but it works.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1989
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Harper & Row