About the Holiday
On a cold, snowy day – or even on a sunny day if you live in a warmer climate—a bubble bath can be just the thing for relaxing at the end of the day. Your kids love splashing in the frothy suds, so why shouldn’t you enjoy them too? Take the opportunity for a little luxury and have some fun!
A Whale in the Bathtub
Written by Kylie Westaway | Illustrated by Tom Jellett
When Bruno goes to take a bath, instead of an empty tub he finds it occupied by a whale. The whale takes a bit of offense at the little boy who is staring at him. “‘You could have knocked!’” he says. The boy is nonplussed and wants to ask the whale how he got there. He’s also a little surprised to see that the whale is luxuriating in his “bubblegum bubble bath.” Not a fan of bubblegum, however, the whale says, “‘I don’t like it. Have you got any that smells like krill?’”
With the admonition that he’s “letting the heat out,” the boy leaves to find his sister, Ally. Ally is unsympathetic to her brother’s plight, and shouts to their mom, “‘Bruno’s pretending again! And he’s not taking a bath!’” Bruno protests that he’s not pretending, but his sister reminds him that last week he reported a bear under his bed and “‘on dad’s birthday, there was a walrus in the backyard.
Their mom has had enough of the squabbling and sends Bruno back upstairs. He finds the whale “scrubbing under his flippers with Dad’s back scrubber,” and when he hears that Bruno needs the tub, the whale simply says, “‘I haven’t done my tail yet. Come back later.’” Before he goes Bruno notices that despite the fact that the whale didn’t like his bubble bath, he sure seems to be using a lot of it.
Bruno’s brother loves science, so Bruno tells him about the whale. “‘A whale can’t fit in a bathtub,’” Pete says. “‘Even a baby whale would be too big. And there’d be no room for the water. It’s just impossible.’” The bathroom is now splattered with water, suds, and bath toys, and the whale is still not finished. Why doesn’t the whale just wash in the ocean? There’s no hot water, no bubble bath, no soap, and no washcloths.
When Bruno goes downstairs he discovers his dad is home from his business trip. “‘Dad, there’s a whale in our bathtub!’” Bruno tells him. “‘A whale? Wow!’” His dad laughs, but even though he asks some very good questions, such as “‘How did it get there? Was there a flood today and the whale got stranded? Or did it just swim up through the drain?’” he sends Bruno back up with the promise that he’ll be there in five minutes.
The whale is now “rinsing his barnacles” and reveals that he’ll be “at least another hour. Maybe four.’” But then he has an idea. The whale takes a deep breath and “Whoosh!” gives Bruno a shower, which, despite smelling a bit like krill, is one perk of having a whale in the bathtub.
Whether imaginary or real, Kylie Westaway’s Whale in the Bathtub is a fun bath-time romp. The mischievous sea creature that dwarfs the tub and has a ready retort to each of the boy’s questions and comments will make kids giggle and have them running to see if their own bathtub holds such adventure. Grounded in real family dynamics to further enhance the humorous absurdity, A Whale in the Bathtub is a great read aloud.
Tom Jellett will hook readers from their first glimpse of the enormous whale that has taken up residence in Bruno’s bath tub. So huge that he takes up two pages, the whale is a blue behemoth that loves his warm water, back scrubber, and bath toys and comes to appreciate bubblegum bubble bath. The vintage look to Jellett’s illustrations, complete with scribbled highlights and simple outlining of some details, will have kids pondering whether the whale is a figment of Bruno’s imagination and drawings or a real fish out of (sea) water.
Both reluctant bath-takers and kids who love to rub-a-dub-dub, as well as marine-animal enthusiasts, will find much to laugh about in A Whale in the Bathtub.
Ages 4 – 7
Clarion Books, 2016 | ISBN 978-0544535350
Get to know more about Kylie Westaway and find fun book-related activities on her website!
Discover a portfolio of illustration work by Tom Jellett on his website!
Bubble Bath Day Activity
Fun Foam Bath Shapes
Instead of buying bathtub clings for your kids to play with, make some yourself! It’s easy with regular foam sheets, cookie cutters or stencils, and scissors! Make it a family activity and watch the shower of creativity that results!
- Foam sheets in various colors
- Cookie cutters or stencils
- Trace cookie cutter shapes or stencils onto the foam
- And/Or cut squares, triangles, rectangles, circles, and other shapes from the foam in a variety of sizes
- Cut out the shapes
- Wet the backs of the shapes with water and stick them to the tub or tiled or lined wall. Shapes will also stick with a little shaving gel or cream applied
Picture Book Review