No Baths at Camp
“There are no baths at camp!” says Max, when his mother starts filling the tub. But as he recounts his week’s activities, he realizes that there were many fun ways he got clean at summer camp.
|Interest Level||Preschool - Grade 3|
|Reading Level||Grade 1|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Kar-Ben Publishing ®|
|Number of Pages||32|
Author: Tamar Fox
Tamar Fox has an M.F.A. from Vanderbilt University and a B.A. from the University of Iowa. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post and The Jerusalem Post. She lives in New York. This is her first children’s book.
Illustrator: Natalia Vasquez
Natalia Vasquez is a freelance illustrator living in Lima, where she studied painting at the local fine arts school. She works with a variety of media including pencil, ink, watercolor and digital art. She has illustrated both English and Spanish children's books.
“Jewish content is positive and culturally re-enforcing for the campers. This is a light-hearted, amusing, and recommended story which would be perfect as a read-to for preschoolers or as an independent read for ages 6-8.” — Jewish Book World
“It’s bath time at Max’s house, and he’s cranky about it. He grumbles that he’d rather be back at summer camp, because ‘there are no baths at camp!’ His mom is skeptical, so Max narrates a week of activities. From rock climbing to art class, marshmallow roasting to canoeing, there is plenty of messy fun, but no nightly bath. The week’s only shower comes in preparation for Shabbat, as the children first clean up the camp and then scrub themselves in preparation for a day of resting, singing, and stories. Max’s mother reminds him that they also celebrate Shabbat at home with music and time together as a family. He agrees, but gets the last word that camp is better because ‘there are no baths at camp!’ The narrative ends rather abruptly, as the illustration shows that Max has hopped in the tub in spite of his protests. The final spread shows that while there may be no baths at camp, the children spend plenty of time hosing off, splashing in the lake, and dousing themselves with water balloons to stay clean. Though the mixed-media artwork is fun and lively, the text is lackluster. An additional purchase for Judaic collections, this picture book may serve a purpose for children nervous about their first sleepover camp experience.” —School Library Journal
“Max, the hero of what is really a clever exercise in reverse psychology, could just be the secret weapon that parents (and Jewish educators) are looking for in convincing recalcitrant kids to give Jewish camp a try. Resisting his mother’s attempts to get him into the tub, Max regales her with stories of the special activities he had Sunday through Thursday at camp—none of which culminate in a bath (‘On Wednesdays we go canoeing in the lake. The water is green and muddy and sometimes we catch frogs…but there are NO BATHS AT CAMP!’) So does Max ever take a bath at camp? Sure, in preparation for Shabbat –24 hours that are so magical in so many ways that even the most defiantly schmutzy (dirty) kid would deem the occasion bath-worthy. Vasquez’s (Ten Little Apples) collaged scenes of non-stop camp life, created from cutout drawings and photographic elements (a blazing campfire made of a photo of flames is particularly impressive) bring to life Fox’s cheery but literal text, and lend an appropriately arts-and-crafts feel to the pages. Brimming with what veteran Jewish campers will immediately recognize as ruach (spirit), this book should prompt many youngsters to ask, ‘Am I old enough to go?’”—Publishers Weekly
“Have a delicious romp through this amusing story filled with joy and Jewish content. Max does not wish to take his after-dinner bath. He counters his mother with information gleaned from his own experience that despite such grief at home, there are no baths at camp! He proceeds to outline his weekly activities at Jewish, summer, sleep-over camp, each one escalating in dirt and mess, each one not ruined by a bath at the end. The litany of sullied, not spoiled, comes from his age appropriate point of view. Meanwhile, the illustrations indicate the alternative cleaning methods, alternatives he does not register, from rustic spigots, through hoses, hand sanitizers, fresh water lakes, even water balloons, to showers that include hair washes. The picture book repeats these illustrations on the last two-page spread for readers who miss the joke. The tale is fun, to the point, and excellently explicit about Jewish cultural life (sometimes by text, sometimes by picture). In the warm hilarity, there is no feeling the little boy is duped; every age reader smiles. The art is cute, in keeping with the tone, mobile, colorful and age appropriate. One illustration gripe: an adult, the camp director yet, stands on a chair, a school no-no. It is so refreshing to find a genuinely funny Jewish story without moralizing or teaching. Recommended with glee, especially in paperback where two copies cost less than one hardback.”—AJL Newsletter
“Max insists that he never took a bath the entire time he was at summer camp.
When Mom announces bathtime, Max gives her a complete account of all his adventures, with lots of grimy details, from Sunday to Saturday of each week. There’s rock climbing, theatrics, marshmallow roasting, canoeing and swimming, painting and barefoot dancing. This particular camp focuses on Jewish traditions. They perform scenes from the Old Testament, dance the hora, and on Friday night observe Shabbat, lighting the candles, saying the blessings and eating a special meal. Saturday is spent quietly with walks, stories and conversations until sundown, when they say goodbye to the sweetness of the Sabbath. Max narrates his story in simple descriptive language and syntax, joyfully emphasizing that there were no baths on the schedule. Vasquez’s double-paged, bright, textured illustrations clue readers into Max’s misleading assertions. He may not have taken baths, but there he is washing at the water pump, splashing in the spray from the hose, having a jolly water-balloon fight and happily taking a shower and shampoo before sundown on Shabbat. Of course Max takes his bath, albeit reluctantly, obliging his Mom. Fox maintains a light, nonpreachy touch, weaving details of children’s participation in Jewish traditions with the universal fun of summer camp.
Charming, funny and appealing." —Kirkus Reviews