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Pickle Me This

March 11, 2016

Going for a Sea Bath, by Andrée Poulin and Anne-Claire Delisle

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After a week sitting beside the ocean, it was a pleasure to return home to brand new book Going For a Sea Bath, by Andrée Poulin and Anne-Claire Delisle, and translated from French by Erin Woods. Although I’ll admit to being initially a bit wary of the book—as an avid reader of classic Canadian bath-lit, I’d noted a resemblance in substance and style to Eugenie Fernandes’ Waves in the Bathtub. But I was happy to find out that the resemblance is only skin deep, and while both titles make for excellent companion readers, Going for a Sea Bath is something all its own.

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In terms of structure, pacing and general silliness, Going for a Sea Bath recalls early-Munsch. It’s the story of a little girl called Leanne who finds bath time too boring, and so her doting father runs down to the sea to find her creatures to liven up the tub. Beginning with a turtle, and moving onto eels, and anemones, urchins and clownfish, with eventually the marine menagerie becoming too much to handle—leading to the inevitable addition of octopi.

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And by this point things are absolutely overflowing, but Leanne’s dad is not deterred. The page above, for obvious reasons (i.e. an octopus on the toilet, a hermit crab with toilet paper!—these perfect details in the illustrations feature throughout) is a favourite in our house, the point at which everything is totally out of control, and Leanne’s dad proposes they forego the bath altogether and jump into the sea, which is the most fun bath of all.

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