Sloppy the tree dragon finally earned his heart’s desire in Sloppy Wants a Hug (2017), but now Dewdrop the fairy has again turned standoffish.
Her reluctance to bestow further hugs is understandable, as Sloppy’s vigorous mucking about in puddles has left him a mess. Her suggestion that he take a bath is initially greeted with horror, as he’s never had one, and anyway there might be sharks or crocodiles in the pond. At Dewdrop’s coaxing, though, and also when he sees a trio of ducklings expressing similar reservations to their mama—“Quack (Sharks!) Quack! (Crocodiles!)”—he does finally screw his courage to the sticking place. Although it’s about a dragon, the book offers much that will be familiar to grotty toddlers: The ducklings look like rubber duckies, and Julian provides the pond with both a drain plug and a floating basket of sponges, brushes, and bottles of bubbly soap. Sloppy himself resembles a flop-eared plush toy with, like his diminutive, light skinned friend, undersized wings. He comes out of the water feeling both brave and “AMAZING!” He gets his hug too, though (you’d think she’d have learned her lesson from last time) in return he lays “a great big gooey lick” on Dewdrop that leaves her hair a slimy tangle and sends her off for a bath of her own.
Just the ticket for allaying incipient ablutophobia. (Picture book. 2-4)