Bradford, Wade. Around the World in a Bathtub: Bathing All Over the World. Micha Archer, Illus. Non-fiction. Charlesbridge, 06/2017. pp. $16.99. 978-1-58089-544-6. OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-3.
Around the world, children battle grownups in the daily ritual known as bathtime in this delightful non-fiction picture book. “No, no!” cry the children. “Yes, yes,” reply the adults. This common phrase is repeated in many languages as each page explores bath time rituals in a different country. Family members in Japan bathe from oldest to youngest in a square tub called an ofuro. Turkish families visit a bathhouse called a hammam and a Yup’ik family relaxes in a sauna in Alaska. The book begins and ends in an unnamed country with a brown-skinned mother and son going through a bathtime routine that will appear familiar to readers in North America. Collage illustrations combine origami paper, Indian textile stamps, and other materials from around the world with vibrant oil paint to create a textured setting that celebrates the diverse content. Several acknowledgements in the front of the book indicate extensive research, and back matter includes additional content about the bathing traditions of each culture. A note about languages acknowledges the many possible variations for “yes” and “no” in a given country, indicating the author’s sensitivity for the cultures presented in the book. The book offers a unique perspective on cultural traditions around the globe while illuminating commonalities among children everywhere.