cover image SCRUBBA DUB


Nancy Van Laan, Nancy Laan, , illus. by Bernadette Pons. . Atheneum/Schwartz, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-84459-1

This tale does for bathtime what these collaborators' previous Tickle Tum! did for mealtime. The bunny baby has grown rather messy—or, as Van Laan so eloquently phrases it, "Ewww yuck/ sticka stuck!" The situation calls for a good "scrubba dub dubba." The author once again shows her fluency in the patois of the nursery: "Washy nosie/ washy toesies/ washy anything/ that growsies." Pons's generously scaled pictures stay in step with her collaborator's giddy, bubbly fun. With gentle humor, the artist, working in watercolors and pastels of mauve, aqua and apricot, underscores the bond between mother and child. Author and illustrator understand that no bathtime is complete without a dramatic and total underwater submergence, the elaborate pouring of water into a too-small receptacle and the sculpting of a fetching "bubblesome doo" (a shampoo-shaped coiffure). "Pull out the drain plug,/ round the toys twirl" signals the end of the entertainment, and the bathroom is left a soapy, soppy mess. But who cares? Well, from her distressed look, it's clear Mama Bunny does—but she gives her happy toddler a snug towel hug nonetheless. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)