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Richard Thompson. Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1989.
30pp., paper, $5.95.
ISBN 1-55037-052-9. cloth, $14.95. ISBN 1-55037-055-3. The Effie Stories. Distributed by Firefly Books. CIP.

Subject Heading:

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7

Reviewed by Jane Robinson.

Volume 17 Number 6
1989 November

Effie's Bath is Richard Thompson's sixth children's book published since 1987 and his fifth collaboration with Eugenie Fernandes. This latest story marks the end of The Jesse Adventures, somewhat self-indulgent series inspired by Thompson's daughter, and introduces a new series called The Effie Stories. More of the same? Actually, this book takes off in a few new directions - all positive.

The size of the book is larger - 8 1/2" by 11" and as such commands more attention, is better suited to read-aloud than the smaller-sized books to date, and gives more space for illustrator Eugenie Fernandes to display her talent. Unlike The Jesse Adventures, which are blatantly anecdotal, Effie's Bath is far enough removed from the personal to allow the reader to become more involved in the story. It's built around a classic children's poem, The Owl and the Pussycat. Effie and her friend Sarah unwittingly become an integral part of the owl and the pussycat's adventures when one evening at bath time they dive down to the bottom of the tub and come up again in the middle of the sea. Enter the beautiful pea-grean boat and its curious pair of travellers.

The story is so convincingly told in a relaxed comfortable style that readers do not even challenge the relatively easy-way-out of the ending. When the two girls come up for air, they find themselves in the bathtub once again while the owl and the pussycat presumably had to fend for themselves.

if the intertwining of this classic with the imaginative play of a couple of modern-day girls still sounds too dificult to write believably, one has only to look at Eugenie Fernandes' illustrations to be completely convinced. She has depicted both the land and the sea settings as inviting, happy places and detailed the paintings with all sorts of treasures to be discovered by the reader with each new read.

Readers / listeners do not have to be familiar with The Owl and the Pussycat to enjoy Effie's Bath, but they will likely be interested in reading / hearing the former in its original verse form afterwards.


Jane Robinson, Winnipeg, MB.
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