"A WHAT?" There's a Whale in the Bathtub by Kylie Westaway
TONIGHT THERE WAS A WHALE IN OUR BATHTUB.
HE WAS USING MY BUBBLE BATH.
"YOU COULD HAVE KNOCKED," HE SAID.
Bruno has good intentions. After all, he's dutifully on his way to the bath, with a rubber ducky and bubble-gum scented bubble bath to look forward to, but he finds that the tub is already occupied and the big blue whale in it is giving him a fishy eye.
HAVE YOU GOT ANY BUBBLE BATH THAT SMELLS LIKE KRILL?" HE INQUIRED.
What's a guy to do? His sister Ally hectors him from the living room, where she's watching TV, threatening to tell on him for not taking his bath. She points out that he's cried "Wolf!" before and accuses him of telling tall tales--again! She reminds him of the walrus he saw in the backyard and the bear he reported under Dad's bed last week.
But the whale is still taking his time, using Dad's special bath brush to scrub his flukes, cheerfully ignoring Bruno's firm orders to get out!
Bruno appeals for support to his brother Pete, who brushes him off with a sensible reply.
"A WHALE CAN'T FIT IN A BATHTUB." HE NOTES.
Dad isn't impressed with his excuse either. He tells Bruno to get into the tub pronto.
Bruno is getting desperate. He appeals to the whale, and the whale offers one remedy. With a big WHOOSH through his blowhole, he showers Bruno thoroughly.
That'll work, thinks Bruno, and heads, dripping, into his bedroom. But when Mom comes to say goodnight, she seems slightly suspicious.
"YOU SMELL A LITTLE FISHY," SHE SAYS.
"IT'S PROBABLY THE KRILL," SAYS BRUNO.
It's a case of "the elephant in the room," in the new American edition of Kylie Westaway's A Whale in the Bathtub (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Clarion, 2016), a tale of a boy with a bit of a bathtime dilemma. In a spoofy take on the Peter and the Wolf parable, Westaway leaves kids wondering whether there really was a whale in the tub, especially with supercilious sister Ally scheduled next for the bath. Tom Jellett's illustrations extend the text admirably, and it's all in good fun, right down to the endpapers depicting--krill, of course.
For a sudsy duo of bedtime tales, pair this one with Sarah Maizes' bathetic approach to the nightly ritual, her On My Way to the Bath, (see review here).