Max insists that he never took a bath the entire time he was at summer camp.
When Mom announces bathtime, Max gives her a complete account of all his adventures, with lots of grimy details, from Sunday to Saturday of each week. There’s rock climbing, theatrics, marshmallow roasting, canoeing and swimming, painting and barefoot dancing. This particular camp focuses on Jewish traditions. They perform scenes from the Old Testament, dance the hora, and on Friday night observe Shabbat, lighting the candles, saying the blessings and eating a special meal. Saturday is spent quietly with walks, stories and conversations until sundown, when they say goodbye to the sweetness of the Sabbath. Max narrates his story in simple descriptive language and syntax, joyfully emphasizing that there were no baths on the schedule. Vasquez’s double-paged, bright, textured illustrations clue readers into Max’s misleading assertions. He may not have taken baths, but there he is washing at the water pump, splashing in the spray from the hose, having a jolly water-balloon fight and happily taking a shower and shampoo before sundown on Shabbat. Of course Max takes his bath, albeit reluctantly, obliging his Mom. Fox maintains a light, nonpreachy touch, weaving details of children’s participation in Jewish traditions with the universal fun of summer camp.
Charming, funny and appealing. (Picture book. 4-8)