cover image I’m Terrified of Bath Time

I’m Terrified of Bath Time

Simon Rich, illus. by Tom Toro. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-31-662833-4

The “I” of the title isn’t a kid in this bathroom drama—it’s an anthropomorphized bathtub with faucet-handle eyes, and it has to deal with a small reluctant bather, a child with tan skin. “Listen. I know you’ve got your own issues with bath time,” says the tub, trying to be conciliatory. “But compared to me, you’ve got it easy.” Toro’s digitally enhanced watercolor cartoons, rendered in a limited palette, show the poor tub putting up with the child’s unhappy flailing, splashing, kicking, and screaming, not to mention a pooping incident (“That was a low point for us both”). Acknowledging, perhaps uncomfortably, that the child has “all the power in this relationship,” the tub offers several smart suggestions for kinder, gentler bath-time activities (like giving it a “makeover” by festooning the faucets with toys) that adult bath supervisors will want to crib for their own use. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)