cover image Casey in the Bath

Casey in the Bath

Cynthia C. DeFelice. Farrar Straus Giroux, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-31173-5

Unpleasant tasks call for whimsical distractions--in Casey's case, a squirt of squishy ""green goo"" in the tub. In DeFelice's (Mule Eggs) gleeful if slight fantasy, Casey and his mom meet a squat, mustachioed man at their front door. He touts a bottled formula ""guaranteed to make taking a bath a thrilling experience,"" something Casey considers impossible. Yet as the boy soon discovers, a glob of the spruce-green potion produces opaque bubbles, and inside the bubbles reside slippery sprites that perform high dives from his nose and tickle his belly button. Lathering up becomes a treat, and when Casey runs out of soap, the impish salesman returns, hawking a mysterious purple toothpaste. Demarest (When Cows Come Home) contributes loose ink sketches, slack strokes of transparent watercolor and dabs of darker paint; his bubble-creatures, with their teardrop-shaped heads and broad grins, have a roughly Seussian appearance. If only this book were waterproof, it would make an amusing tubside companion. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)