Review of The Monster in the Bathhouse

The Monster in the Bathhouse The Monster in the Bathhouse
by Sina Merabian; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Simon    32 pp.    g
2/22    978-1-5344-9682-8    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5344-9683-5    $10.99

Nowruz is a celebration of the end of winter and the start of a new year. For the three boys and their fathers in this story, a visit to what appears to be an ­Iranian bathhouse is an essential part of the preparations: “Everyone wants to be clean for the new year.” While the fathers soak in large pools and snack on ­watermelon and other treats, the boys are distracted by loud noises, ripped towels, and broken pumice stones on the floor. Their imaginations run wild, and they suspect that a Div, a monster “with big horns! And big, dirty feet!” may be in residence. A menacing shadow, to everyone’s relief, seemingly reveals itself to be a harmless cat. The notion that a monster could be in the bathhouse seems preposterous, but there are plenty of hints in the lively digital illustrations to suggest that perhaps there really is one. In this delightful story, everyone, from kids to cats to monsters, celebrates the new year. An author’s note provides further information on Nowruz and its traditions.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Hakim Azzam

Julie Hakim Azzam

Julie Hakim Azzam is assistant director of the MFA program in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. Her academic specialization is in comparative contemporary postcolonial fiction from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Southeast Asia. Her most recent work focuses on children's literature, stories about immigrants and refugees, and youth coping with disability.

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