cover image Pippin Takes a Bath

Pippin Takes a Bath

Krista V. Johansen, K. V. Johansen. Kids Can Press, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-55074-627-3

Novelist Johansen (Torrie and the Dragon) makes her picture-book debut with this unassuming story of a dirty dog who won't take a bath. Pippin loves mud puddles, and when she finds one, ""she splashed in that puddle, splish! splash! splosh!"" Mabel, a cheerful blonde girl with a Charlie Brown-round face, has the difficult task of making Pippin clean once again. Every day, Mabel tries to put Pippin in a washtub, getting herself messy in the process. On the third day, a skunk's perfume finally persuades Pippin to bathe. Lum (the If I Had a Dog series) draws in a bland but upbeat, marker-and-watercolor style that recalls fashion-magazine illustration. Pippin's long ears are slender U-shaped loops, and her tail is a black curlicue. Mabel always wears a basic T-shirt and leggings, and her bouncy harvest-gold hair is a springy ear-to-ear coil. Simple flowers pop up everywhere. Five-petaled daisies bloom outdoors, and Mabel accessorizes with a floral motif. Everything comes out smelling like a rose, even when Pippin discovers a fresh puddle for the aw-shucks conclusion: ""When Mabel saw Pippin, she sighed, and then she laughed. `Oh Pippin,' said Mabel."" A middle-of-the-road formula that may lose readers before the next planned Pippin and Mabel installment. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)