Desert Baths

Written by Darcy Pattison

Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013 by National Science Teacher’s Association and the Children’s Book Council (click for more info)

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We are so conditioned to the idea of bathing as a water activity, that the thought of a bath without water seems strange. But there are cultures where bathing with oil is commonplace, and the word water-bath is an accepted part of the vocabulary.

The book lists twelve different ways of bathing. While fifth grade readers would be intrigued by the concept of a dust bath, or an ant bath, the adults in their life can make a convincing argument for cleanliness by pointing out that even animals find ways to keep clean.

And what fascinating ways: bathing in the dewdrops (Anna’s hummingbirds), ant bathing (scaled quail), licking the eyeballs to keep them clear (western banded gecko) or just shedding old skin for a new clean covering (diamondback rattler)!

The book is richly illustrated with pictures that faithfully reflect the passing time: from the vulture silhouetted against the rosy dawn, through the bright skies of the daytime heat to the purpling of the night. Each double page spread creates a complete, and completely accurate desert, habitat. There is a haunting verity to the pictures that carries the readers right into the little-known desert world.

Back matter additions make this book a valuable addition to any reading list. Young readers will enjoy the fun facts and quizzes, and trying their hand at making their own sundial.

Additional Resources:

Online activities:

Deserts of the world:

  • Desert BathsTitle: Desert Baths
  • Author: Darcy Pattison
  • Illustrator: Kathleen Rietz
  • Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
  • Reviewer: Anjali Amit
  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-60718-5345
  • Genre: Picture Book/ Non-Fiction
  • Lexile Score: 870

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