cover image How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth

How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth

Michelle Robinson, illus. by Kate Hindley. Holt, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9966-9

Unconventional pets abound in children’s books, from the mechanical (How to Train a Train) to the extinct (Buying, Training, and Caring for Your Dinosaur). The British duo of Robinson (What to Do If an Elephant Stands On Your Foot) and Hindley (The Great Snortle Hunt) focus on one aspect of mammoth ownership: bath time. Outfitted in a yellow hoodie and red boots, Robinson’s heroine tackles the job with persistence as Robinson provides a step-by-step tutorial. After filling the bath comes “Step two: Add bubble bath” and “Step three: Add mammoth.” It’s easier said than done, and in a sequence of labeled figures, Hindley shows the girl making four attempts that involve a broom, “spooky mask,” skateboard, and “heavy-duty crane.” The author and artist feel entirely in step, especially during the closing sequence that has the mammoth getting—horror of horrors—shampoo in its eyes and dashing up a tree, requiring a muddy rescue via trampoline. It’s a madcap story of pet care with sweetness at its core. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: the Catchpole Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Jodie Marsh, United Agents. (Jan.)