Desert Baths
All animals bathe to keep their bodies clean and healthy. Humans might use soap and water, but what do animals, especially those living in dry climates, do to keep clean? Darcy Pattison and Kathleen Rietz team up again to explore the desert to find out how snakes, spiders, and birds bathe. This surprising book teaches children about hygiene and how some exciting desert creatures manage to stay clean without the help of soap and water.

Written by Darcy Pattison
Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

32 pg, 10 X 8.5, Ages 4-8, Grades PK-3
Lexile: AD 870, AR: 3.3, RC: 4.6, F&P: O
Hardcover 9781607185253 $17.95  
Spanish Hardcover 9781607186762 $17.95  
Paperback 9781607185345 $9.95  
Spanish Paperback 9781628554236 $9.95  
EBook 9781607185628 $6.95  
Spanish EBook 9781628551488 $6.95  
Keywords:   climate, desert habitat, time of day (math), sun pattern, hygiene, adaptations, life science, earth science, STEM activity
Animals in the book:   turkey vulture, Anna's hummingbird, desert tortoise, roadrunner, mule deer, diamondback rattlesnake, scaled quail, western banded gecko, javalina, pallid bat, coyote, bobcat
Vetters:   Thanks to Sid Slone, Refuge Manager, and Margot Bissell, Public Use Assistant at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge for verifying the desert habitat information and to the following animal experts for verifying the specific animal bath information: Dr. Donald R. Powers, Professor of Biology at George Fox University-Anna's hummingbirds; Paul J. Weldon, Research Associate, Smithsonian's National Zoological Park-scaled quail; Renee Lizotte, Herpetology Department at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum-desert tortoises; and Sue Barnard, Founder of Basically Bats Wildlife Conservation Society and author of Bats In Captivity-pallid bats.

"Children are taught at a very young age that if there’s one thing this ecosystem lacks, it’s water. Pattison uses this as a jumping-off point to explore the hygiene of animals and birds living in the desert. The text is cadenced without rhyming, giving it a soothing feeling. It reads almost like a lullaby, which works well considering most of these desert animals are nocturnal. But this lullaby might spur readers to do additional research, since the facts are fascinating. For instance, in just a few lines of text, the author describes the unusual process the scaled quail goes through to get clean (called “anointing”): it uses an ant. Rietz’s richly colored illustrations are realistic, so readers can get a feel for the desert habitat. One of the most eye-catching details is the patterned frame around each spread. Eagle-eyed viewers will want to spot these textures on other pages. A six-page “For Creative Minds” section includes enrichment activities. This book is a must-have for libraries in desert regions since it is so applicable to many curriculum topics. But even libraries in other areas might consider purchasing it as it will hold children’s interest at many levels."–Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ
School Library Journal

"The lyric language of this beautifully illustrated book makes it ideal for reading aloud and discussing with children. Why do animals wash? What do we have in common? What is different? It's easy to imagine a transition to conversations about different habitats. What if it were very wet? Very cold? The authentic connections to experience and language make it very valuable in the early elementary classroom. There's an activity section (For Creative Minds) at the end, and a thirty–page online support for teachers." (January 2013)
NSTA Recommends

"Twelve desert animals' bathing habits are described, including a roadrunner's dust bath, a scaled quail's ant bath, and a javelina's mud bath. The murky but realistic double-page illustrations show each animals technique and setting, from a vulture at dawn to a nocturnal coyote's activities."
Horn Book Guide

Author/Illustrator Info:

Darcy Pattison is published in eight languages. Recent titles include two nature books for Arbordale, Prairie Storms and Desert Baths. Other recent titles include Wisdom: The Midway Albatross and 11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph. She also authored the ebook, How to Write a Children’s Book and the teacher resource book, Paper Lightning: Prewriting Activities to Spark Creativity and Help Students Write Effectively (Prufrock Press). Darcy is the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award, Individual Artist Award for her work in children’s literature. As a writing teacher, Darcy is in demand nationwide to teach her Novel Revision Retreat. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Children’s Program for the Arkansas Literary Festival.. For more information about Darcy, view her website at

A lifelong artist and lover of nature, Kathleen Rietz was drawing and painting before she learned to write her name. Originally from Peoria, IL, Kathleen received her formal training from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL. In addition to illustratingDesert Baths, The Tree That Bear Climbed, Prairie Storms, and Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! for Arbordale, Kathleen’s other books include Conce Tu Parque, Little Black Ant on Park Street, The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids, and Prayers for Children. She taught art to children and adults at the Community School of the Arts at historic Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and through a local home school program in her community. For more information about Kathleen, visit her website:


home  |  catalog  |  privacy policy  |  contact us