cover image Bábo: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day

Bábo: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day

Astrid Kamalyan, illus. by Anait Semirdzhyan. Charlesbridge, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-6235-4358-7

Seldom has a domestic chore looked as irresistible as rug-washing does in Kamalyan’s buoyant family tale. The outdoor ritual takes place under the watchful eye of grandmother Bábo as, “on the sunlit street... we will soak, soap, and wash the rugs.” There, Tato the narrator, along with siblings and a neighbor, all portrayed with pale skin, make a game around textiles spread out for their annual cleaning. Once the soapy rugs have been jumped on and scrubbed, “Swoosh. We glide./ Swoosh. Droplets splash..../We twirl. Bubbles pop-pop-pop.” More about the heirlooms is revealed: as they work on “Mom’s favorite rug,” a sibling explains that it was a wedding gift from Grandpa. Semirdzhyan’s lively illustrations, digitally rendered to mimic pencil and watercolor, retain a looseness in keeping with action-oriented text as the work leads to satisfaction: “We all bite into sunny apricot pie. Powdered sugar flies.” A glossary, author’s note, and more about Armenian carpet-weaving conclude. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)