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King Bidgood's in the Bathtub
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What's the story?
King Bidgood is a merry old soul with an unruly beard, a flashing eye, and an unquenchable desire for his bath. Neither knight nor queen, duke nor courtier, can coax him out of the tub, so he invites them into it. Only the court page has the wits to beach the scrub-a-dub king in this playful, gleefully illustrated tale.
Is it any good?
In this Caldecott Honor book, the Woods have created not just a funny bathtub tale but also a guided tour of period costumes and courtly pastimes. The clothing is fantastic -- a carefully researched confection of frills and ruffs and jewelry -- and Don Wood sumptuously serves forth the mock battle, the luncheon, the fishing trip, and the ball, a crowning delight and profusion even in the cramped quarters of King Bidgood's bath.
Wood's oil paintings are rich and deep in subject matter -- complex narratives of their own -- and as the story progresses through the day, the light quality changes in each of the potent two-page spreads, with the watery illumination of morning shifting through shades of blue and red until the dark of night is cut by the light of the moon. The text's high spirits and its repetitiveness make for deeply satisfactory participation when the book is read aloud.