cover image Walrus in the Bathtub

Walrus in the Bathtub

Deborah Underwood, illus. by Matt Hunt. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-4101-0

When a family moves into a new house and finds that a walrus has full ownership of the bathtub, there’s only one thing to do: make a pros and cons list. “Bad things about having a walrus in the bathtub: 1. Clam shells / 2. Screechy seagulls / 3. Bathtub tidal waves.” As the son in the family generates successive lists (“More bad things... People who will not help you get a walrus out of a bathtub”), the soaked occupants seem to have no choice but to abandon ship. But when the walrus counters with a list of his own (“How to make your new family feel welcome”), a brighter side becomes apparent (“3. Indoor puddle jumping!”), and everyone lives happily—albeit damply —ever after. Underwood’s list-focused text is a fast, fun read and could inspire imaginative classroom projects around improbable list-making. Hunt’s big, boisterous cartooning makes the most of this variation on The Man Who Came to Dinner: the family tries to stay calm and roll with the punches while the extra-large, genially oblivious center of attention—who strikes poses worthy of Rubens and wears a polka-dotted shower cap—keeps pouring on the annoyances. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Bright Agency. (July) [/em]