Desert Baths

NSTA Recommends - January 2013

Nothing makes the adaptations of animals more relevant to young readers than a connection to their daily lives. In the arid desert, the idea of a "bath" may be quite different than most children imagine. But the stories of twelve species will captivate listeners or readers.

This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book emphasizes biodiversity as it illustrates how animals survive in the desert. Roadrunners use dust, a mother bobcat uses her rough tongue. Spiders and vultures and quail cope with the climate in unique ways.

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.

Horn Book Guide - April 2013

"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."

Library Media Connection - January 2013

Taken over the course of a day in a desert, this book does an excellent job of exposing readers to a variety of desert fauna, each with a unique way of keeping clean in a near-waterless environment. The layout is effective, showcasing each of twelve different animals bathing in various methods as the setting progresses from sunrise to a starry sky. The narrative text is easy to understand and will keep readers engaged. The information on these bathing habits is enough to pique the reader’s interest and spur further investigation. The book also includes extensive material in its “For Creative Minds” section, including desert facts, animal adaptations, a map of North American deserts. The subject matter and vivid illustrations will make this book a popular choice for children who love learning interesting facts about wild animals. Matthew C. Winner, Library Media Specialist, Longfellow Elementary School, Columbia, Maryland [Editor’s Note: Available in e-book format and paperback. Teacher resources are available on the publisher’s website.] RECOMMENDED

School Library Journal - August 2012

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

Booklist - October 2012

Pattison’s picture book centers on a daily event that all children are familiar with (and many are loath to accomplish) to introduce the concept of adaptation in a very specific ecosystem. The examples given are fairly novel—even adult readers may be impressed to learn that scaled quail use ants to groom their feathers, or that the desert gecko can remove dirt from its eyes with its own tongue. The textured, brownheavy watercolor illustrations power a narrative that takes place during the course of one day, as each page depicts the sun in a different position in the hot desert sky. Before the extended bath time is through, readers meet bobcats, coyotes, javelinas, mule deer, roadrunners, turkey vultures, and more. Six pages of educational materials are included in the back matter and are available online, and reproduction of these age-appropriate activities for use in the classroom is encouraged.

Kirkus Reviews - July 2012

Throughout a day and night, a dozen U.S. desert animals demonstrate that not all animals use water to bathe.

This intriguing combination of biology and earth science follows the model of Prairie Storms (2011), by the same pair. Here, while a short text describes an animal’s behavior, the illustrations also reveal the time of day. From the turkey vulture’s early-morning sun bath to the bobcat kitten’s tongue-wash late at night, each creature is shown in its natural habitat in Rietz’s realistic paintings, done with a mix of watercolor and digital effects. As in the previous title, these double-page spreads are framed with unlabeled but relevant border designs. Six pages of backmatter include “fun facts,” an adaptations matching game, a U.S. map, further information about animal cleaning methods and telling time by the sun’s position, and instructions for making a sundial, but no index. The creatures described are fascinating, but the text lacks an explanatory, unifying introduction or conclusion. It is only through careful reading of the backmatter that readers will discover the point of the text—the variety of ways animals get rid of dirt, germs, bugs and parasites—or the orientation of the illustrations (looking north) that demonstrates the time of day.

A useful classroom teaching tool; it is also available in Spanish.

Reading Today Online-March 2013

Teaching students to wonder is the most crucial role of a teacher. To keep readers turning the pages is the work of an author. In this well-written and illustrated book, young readers learn about the inhabitants of the American desert. Readers will be amazed at the diversity of creatures living in the desert. Since these animals show up at different times of the day, the narration flows in a natural chronology. The accurate illustrations provide details to situate the young readers in the desert habitat. Using text and illustrations, readers actively participate in trying to figure out how each creature will find different ways to stay clean when there is no rain or water. One by one, the bobcat licks her cub, the pallid bat takes a spit bath, and the javelina rolls over thick, cool mud. In addition to six pages of activities, the book is accompanied by a teaching guide and numerous tools for classroom activities that provide opportunities for engaged learning. A great resource for any teacher because of its focus on the desert, this title may encourage many reluctant readers to search out similar texts.
- Rani Iyer, Washington State University Pullman

Kids Book Review - September 2013

This book shows how animals take baths different ways in the desert. My favorite part is the true or false activity in the back. There is a funny picture of a turkey vulture in the bath with bubbles. Turkey vultures do not like bubble baths. They really stretch out their wings for a sun bath. The roadrunner takes a sand bath. The deer takes a licking bath. The rattlesnake sheds its skin, so it has a new skin. The quail takes an ant bath. The gecko also takes a tongue bath. The javelina takes a mud bath. The bat takes a spit bath. The coyote takes a grass bath. The bob cat licks, licks. The hummingbird takes a water dew bath. The tortoise doesn’t take a bath if there is no rain.

There are a lot of activities in the back of the book. The pictures are good. I learned a lot of new things. I had never heard of an ant bath before. I will never forget about a bird taking a bath with ants! I give the book eighteen hundred and five stars.
- Reviewed by Nishaant, Age 5

Classic Children's Books - November 2012

This story talks about the many many ways animals groom and bathe themselves in the desert - there are sand baths, water baths, sun baths, dew baths, and more. With some of the animals you hear about where they live, what they eat and how they move. Desert Baths is the perfect book for kids who want to know everything about how animals live. The pictures in the book are very informative about desert life and will open up many discussions with your kids.

Kid Lit Reviews - December 2012

I like this book because it has lots of information, is beautifully illustrated, and would make a great resource for a report or a classroom lesson on the desert, desert animals, or lack of water. Libraries should grab this book, especially those in a desert region. Kids who like animals of all types will like Desert Baths.  This book is also available in Spanish.

Sally's Bookshelf - January 2013

Darcy Pattison shows how twelve different animals get rid of dirt, dust, grime and parasites – and takes us on a tour of the desert habitat through a typical day. She opens with a turkey vulture awaiting dawn so it can begin the day with a sunbath. Tiny hummingbirds preen with dewdrops, while roadrunners shake off after a dust bath. Some moms use their tongues to groom their young, while others make do with a spit bath. All accompanied by Kathleen Rietz’s gorgeous paintings.

Home School Book Review - December 2012

As the sun rises, travels across the sky, and sets, young readers can learn how these twelve different desert animals deal with the problem of trying to stay clean in a parched land. The full-color, realistic pictures by illustrator Kathleen Rietz will help them to explore the desert habitat through its animals and their habits of hygiene. The book can be read either at home or in the classroom.

SoCal City Kids - November 2012

We received this book from our friends at Arbordale Publishing and my son and I really enjoyed the educational aspect of this story. It gives you a realistic and entertaining view of the desert lands and its animals. Great for ages 4-8 but suitable for children slightly younger or older.

Feathered Quill Book Reviews - November 2012

Desert Baths is an excellent introduction to the world of desert animals and what they must do to stay clean and healthy. There are twelve different animals featured in this book that children will enjoy meeting. Chances are, young readers have never considered what animals must do to stay clean in a land where water is a rare commodity. The story, along with the educational material in the back of the text for added discussions, will bring the struggles of desert animals to life for the emerging reader.

Learning Table Reviews - January 2012

Arbordale does a great job of creating a unit study from their picture books, and my kids especially enjoy the fun activities they provide to accompany their book.  We read Desert Baths as a supplement to our science curriculum, and because we do not live close enough to a desert to see one for ourselves, we enjoyed learning about this habitat through the book.

Tenacious Teller of Tales - November 2012

Poetry in motion. That’s the best way to describe Desert Baths. Author Darcy Pattison and illustrator Kathleen Rietz set their poetry in motion with action on the desert.

Examiner - November 2012

In "Desert Baths," young naturalists will enjoy Darcy Pattison's simple explanations of unusual animal baths partnered with Kathleen Rietz's delicate illustrations and followed by extra information about animals and desert habitats.

Mymcbook Blog - October 2012

This surprising book teaches children about hygiene and how some exciting desert creatures manage to stay clean without the help of soap and water.

In My Words - October 2012

Teachers and parents can use this interesting book to teach children about weather, different climates and geography.

Each of the desert dwellers are brought to life with Kathleen Rietz’s magnificent, realistic illustrations. Detailed animals and complex backgrounds grace each page.

Homeschool Book Reviews - October 2012

Desert Baths makes a great read-aloud with little ones, or a good addition to a study of animals and their habitats.

Heck of a Bunch - October 2012

If curious children ever question how animals of the desert bathe, the book Desert Baths is a good starting point for teaching them the different ways different desert animals get clean.  In the Creative Minds section at the back of the book is more educational information that includes Desert Habitat Fun Facts, Desert Adaptations Matching, Deserts in North America, Telling Time By the Sun's Position, and more.

So Cal City Kids San Diego - October 2012

Published by Arbordale Publishing, I would recommend Desert Baths for it’s lesson, for a relaxing story that is lyrical in nature, and for it’s plentiful, colorful and expressive illustrations. There is also a educational resource in the back of the book that is perfect for curious minds.

Class Antics - Inside Elementary Education-October 2012

The information is interesting; it’s not often we think about whether desert creatures take baths, let alone how they do so.  Students will enjoy seeing the different techniques for cleanliness in a dry place.  Kids love animals, so this book is a natural fit.

Eclectic Homeschool Online - October 2012

Desert Baths makes a great read-aloud with little ones, or a good addition to a study of animals and their habitats.

My Reading Resources - October 2012

The pictures are gorgeous, and the story is linked together by telling how twelve desert animals manage to “take baths” in the desert. From the familiar similarity to a pet cat of a mother bobcat licking her cub – to the surprise of a hummingbird sliding through the dew on a leaf – to the grossness of the gecko licking its eyeballs—what kid won’t love this book? And for homeschoolers and classroom teachers, there are several activities included with this book.

Butterfly Wishes and Wonderland Dreams

We learned a lot about how desert animals cope and live in the desert. Even I learned a lot about how they stay clean in such a dusty environment. Great book to use for a desert study.

Happy Little Homemaker - January 2012

It’s a fascinating book with gorgeous illustrations and a detailed, yet short description on each page that keeps even my 2 year old interested!