Little Owl's bathtime by Debi Gliori. Illus. by Alison Brown

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The latest in a series of books about Little Owl (Little Owl's Bedtime, Little Owl's Egg), this title will resonate with parents and children alike. Adults will recognise the battle to get children into and then out of (!) the bath and young listener's will identify with Little's Owl's bathtime blues and imaginative adventures. Alison Brown's (Snow Bear, You Make Me Happy) gorgeously sweet illustrations seem to jump right off the page, perfectly portraying Little Owl's pizzazz and spunky attitude and bringing the characters to life.

Little Owl is a master of imaginative play and is guarding a castle when Mummy Owl says it is bath time. A predictable response from Little Owl ("NO, NO, NO, NO!" and some foot stomping) is met with mum entering the play space in order to negotiate. "Perhaps Puffle could guard the castle while you have your bath", she says. Her entreatment to find the bath toys in the "foamy foothills of Bubble Mountain" is enticing, as is the marshmallow reward for capturing every one but Little Owl is still not sure. Mum meets every protest or attempt at procrastination with an imaginative solution but ultimately Little Owl wants to keep playing...baths are boring. Finally Mummy Owl's creativity gets Little Owl in the bath where he has so much fun (of course, there is water all over the bathroom) that he doesn't want to get out.

This is a beautiful reminder to parents of positive ways to deal with everyday bathtime battles and encourages them to approach the problem from the child's point of view. Perhaps it will even spark the imagination of young readers (and parents), giving them a new perspective on boring bathtimes. 

Themes: Bathtime, Imagination.

Nicole Nelson