Theodore Roosevelt
Letters From a
Young Coal Miner.

Dee and Bee
“Young children will delight in the antics of the twins.” -Children's Book Review Service

Back to Main

The Dirty Little Boy
Written by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Steve Salerno

School Library Journal, 5/1/2001
“This story was first published in Jack and Jill in 1939 under the title ‘How the Animals Took a Bath.' After getting jam, chocolate, and mud all over himself, a little boy asks his ‘big round mother' to give him a bath. She is busy washing some clothes by hand and tells him to, ‘Run along, and see how the animals take their baths and that way you'll learn how to get clean.' After mimicking a bird diving into a puddle and then rolling in sand, he follows some pigs into a mud pool. Realizing he is really filthy now, he eyes a cat licking itself clean and copies it, but all the dirt from his hand is now on his face. He eventually gives up and returns home much dirtier than when he started out. At first mom scolds, then scoops him up into the soapy washtub and lovingly shows him how a little boy is supposed to get clean. Salerno's vibrant mixed-media art is great fun. . . . The stylized characters contribute to the retro look, and the playful use of line and scale give them a lager-than-life quality. A selection that is bound to make a splash at storyhour.”

The New York Times Book Review, 5/20/2001
“In 1939 ‘The Dirty Little Boy,' at that time entitled ‘How the Animals Bathe,' appeared in a children's magazine. . . . The brand-new pictures are big and bright and à la mode, combining an illustrative style influenced by 30's cartoons with some very modern techniques. The pages burst with color . . . It works wonderfully well…”

Kirkus Reviews, 3/1/2001
“Proclaiming ‘I am one dirty little boy,' a lad asks his busy mother for a bath—but she instead sends him off to see how the animals clean themselves. The results may not be quite what Mama had in mind. The first picture-book version of an episode last seen in print over 40 years ago, this has been freshened up with a light editorial massage, and furnished with illustrations that . . . are all exaggerated action and huge, bold, energetic brushstrokes. Getting no good results from splashing in a puddle like a bird, rolling in mud like a pig, trying out a wire brush (horse), or licking his hands to wipe his face (cat), the boy returns home for a sudsy bath, and is last seen bare, dripping, gleaming, and beaming to beat the band. The easy intimacy between tiny child and ‘big, round”—not to say enormous—mother comes through clearly, as does that distinctly childlike voice that generally marks Brown's prose. Not since Harry the Dirty Dog (1956) has the twin adventure of getting grimy, then scrubbing it all off, been better captured.”