cover image Bathe the Cat

Bathe the Cat

Alice B. McGinty, illus. by David Roberts. Chronicle, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4521-4270-8

Clean-up time turns topsy-turvy when an interracial family’s mischievous cat jumbles up their to-do list in this sure-footed picture book. With a visit from Grandma impending, the story opens with one of two brown-skinned fathers delegating tasks: “Dad will mow the lawn,/ and Sarah, sweep the mat./ Bobby, rock the baby,// and I’ll bathe the cat.” The tasks are spelled out in magnetic letters on the fridge, just above a child’s hand-drawn family portrait. Averse to a bath, the family pet slyly modifies the list—a colorful spread shows two orange paws scrambling up the words, resulting in something much sillier: “sweep the dishes,” “rock the rug,” and “scrub the fish.” Equally unhappy with the adjusted words’ next variation (“mow the cat”), the feline’s hijinks continue until one dad takes charge, and the fathers and three children, all with various skin tones, get organized just in time for Grandma’s arrival. Pencil and watercolor scenes by Roberts (The Cook and the King) emphasize the increasing goofiness of the family’s repeated efforts to get their mess under control, and light rhymes by McGinty (A Story for Small Bear) pair smartly with the amusing concept. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Stephen Chudney, the Chudney Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Christine Isteed, Artist Partners (U.K.). (Nov.)