Eularee Smith
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Entries in Sylvan Dell Publishing (1)


Desert Baths

Desert Baths

by Darcy Pattison

Ilustrations by Kathleen Rietz

Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing, South Carolina

Hardcover: $17.95

I must admit I was intrigued by the title of this book. One does not think of taking a bath and the desert in the same sentence. Personally, I have a deep affection for the desert and the animals that inhabit its sparse and often hostile environment. Darcy Pattison's new book, Desert Baths, is a great way to learn about the animals that call the desert, home.

The warm tones of the illustrations reflect the heat of the desert. Each page is framed in a desert motif of a tortoise shell pattern, prickly cactus and desert sky. The story takes us deep into the nooks and crannies of the desert floor to find the animals seeking shelter from the desert sun. Even the hummingbird bathes in the dew drops from the cool desert night. Each animal cleans itself with such care and curious behaviors as it grooms without benefit of soap and often little or no water.

Thick, cool mud serves as a place to wallow, roll and scratch for the javelina, while the pallid bat takes a spit bath by the stars in the midnight sky. Darcy writes of the yipping coyotes, making us want to cock our ears to hear the lonesome howl. Mothers and babies cuddle and wrestle in the desert light, to the comforting tongue baths that send them gentlly off to sleep. Pattison's descriptions of the animals and their surroundings are just as colorful as the illustrations. Her writing is like a paintbrush across the desert sky, vividly setting the stage with broad strokes. Her words detail the smallest ant in the beak of the quail as it uses it like a scrub brush. From snake to mule deer fawn, each page introduces us to the clean ways of the desert animal.

My grandchildren are fascinated by the animal kingdom, from barnyard to backyard. This book is a treasure filled with a place and animals they rarely see. Although suitable for young pre-school children, the book includes For Creative Minds, a study guide filled with fun facts, matching the animals to their survival skills, maps of the deserts in North America and many more engaging tools for parents and teachers. Teaching activities include language arts, math, geography and science. 

Darcy Pattison, award winning author, has also published Prairie Storms and her books have been published in eight languages. In demand for her teaching, she is also the Co-Chair of the Children's  Program for the Arkansas Literary Festival. You can visit her web site at 

Kathleen Reitz, lifelong artist, has worked as illustrator, designer and product developer. Her numerous book illustrations speak volumes as to her love and play of art in the literary style. Learn more about her work as illustrator and teacher on her web site,

Pattison and Retiz have captured the essence of the desert without getting sand in your shoes. Desert Baths is a great book to have on any child's bookshelf and certainly a must for any elementary classroom.

Available in hardcover, paperback and in ebook format  featuring auto-flip and auto-read. You can find this wonderful book at Amazon. com and Barnes and Noble, retail bookstores and Sylvan Dell.