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Top 100 Picture Books #64: King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

#64 King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood (1985)
30 points

My all time favorite, favorite, favorite picture book. I would pore over the illustrations of this book and look at all the details in each page. Stunning artwork and a fun story. – Sarah

Don and Audrey are two of my favorite author/illustrator combinations. This one never fails to induce giggles. – Heather Christensen

King Bidgood may have been the first Wood title I ever saw. I missed their books for the most part in my childhood, though in the case of this particular book I do remember seeing it in the possession of the younger siblings of one of my friends. It would be years before I came to know Audrey and Don’s work any better. What we have here is a Caldecott Honor winner and in 2005 there was even a 20th Anniversary edition, complete with a CD of six original songs.

Here’s the description of the plot from School Library Journal: “In this humorously original tale, various members of the Court, all clothed in elaborate Elizabethan dress, try to dislodge the King from his bubbly tub. Instead they are drawn into it with him, to ‘do battle’ with toy ships and warriors; to eat a lavish feast; to fish and to dance. It is the young page who finds a solution, finally, by pulling the plug. Much of the delight is in Don Wood’s meticulous oil paintings, which juxtapose the starched, overdressed, ’shocked’ demeanor of the Court with the King’s twinkling, sensual, even lascivious manner. Minute details in the paintings emphasize this contrast; the red-haired naked King frolics while the fully-clothed courtiers emerge dripping from the bath with literally all their starch taken out.”

Newbery Award winner Susan Patron reviewed this book for SLJ and called it, “A voluptuous book whose rich range of colors and tones reflect the passing hours of the day.”

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.