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The Tub People
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The Tub People

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  410 ratings  ·  51 reviews
During an unseen child's bath time, the seven members of a wooden toy family ride on the floating soap and compete in swimming races. But after the near loss of the Tub Child down the drain, they are all reunited on a warm bed, where they mountain climb on the ridges formed by soft quilts.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published October 6th 1999 by HarperCollins (first published 1989)
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise BrownThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Best Picture Books
442nd out of 1,386 books — 999 voters
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Children's Literature - Sentient Toys
94th out of 97 books — 33 voters

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Community Reviews

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Such a good one! I think every child is fascinated with the idea of their toys coming to life. This is one of those that leaves a lot to the readers' and listeners' imagination.
I know this book was mentioned in our textbook, but I just didn't find this book very enticing. I tried to look at it from a young child's point of view, but just wasn't sure if they would find it interesting enough to suspend disbelief. Are the toys moving about and interacting with each other on their own or with the help of a child? I think there could have been more cleverness either way. If there had been less text and of a more basic level, then I would understand. But why devote that much ...more
This book and its sequel were loaned by a friend, wondering what I thought of them. Cute little toys to play with in the bathtub have more than one adventure, including a disastrous one where the youngest, a boy, slips down the drain. It all turn out okay because of a plumber, thank goodness. I’m not sure what I think of this story. It seems a little scary to read to a young child, but on the other hand, maybe it’s just fun, imaginative play. You’ll have to read it to see what you think.
Dawn Van Ness
My daughter and I love to reread this one to the point where I improvise some. It is a story of separation and recovery when a little tub boy is sucked down the drain, but then reunited after time with his loving tub family who then are moved to the much safer bedroom. It sweetly demonstrates family love and appreciation for each other, as well as suggesting adapting and relocating after near tragedies. All in a bite size five year old way.
Megan D. Neal
This story is about a little wooden family of dolls who live on the edge of a tub, and play in the bath. One day the little Tub Child is lost down the drain, which causes the water to not be able to drain properly, and a plumber is called in to fix the problem. Then the tub people are reunited and given a new home in the bedroom.

The story is told entirely from the point of the Tub People. Although a human child is obviously present to facilitate the Tub People's adventures, the child is unseen i
The Tub People is a magical little story. The seven members of this wooden family live their lives along the edge of the tub as well as in the tub when the unknown child is taking a bath. But this is not a story of the human child, but of the tub child who gets stuck in the drain. My favorite line came from the grandmother, "Come home now," the grandmother whispered. It is a subtle and moving story that my own human children loved.
Jan 08, 2013 Margaret rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Margaret by: Sonlight P3/4
This is a very imaginative story in that it calls for the reader to have imagination. While reading it I could envision it being an entertaining "animated short" but as a storybook story it is not the most thrilling or enthralling unless your vivid imagination is at work. Not one to read if distracted and doubtfully a favorite but cute nonetheless. We read this in The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury: Celebrated Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud on recommendation from Sonlight P3/4 bu ...more
I adore this book but am not ready to share it with my 5 year old because of the Tub Child (a toy) getting temporarily stuck in the drain... it seems like it would be scary for him as he already is afraid of the water being let out of the tub while he's in it.
But it's so charming! I adore the Tub People.
Thera Grady
I liked the illustrations, but the story was weird. It definitely gives room for discussion since it leaves several plot points out. Maybe this is deliberate...but with younger kids, I had to answer questions for a long time! haha!
Great little story for making inferences. I'll use it with my fifth graders in the next few weeks to review the concept.
Ms Threlkeld
Pretty uninteresting story about a bath toy that goes down the drain. I can't imagine this book holding kids' attention.
Larinda Agee
One of my favorite picture three even.....EVER! Such a fun story with adventure and fun on every page!
Jennie Park
Apr 07, 2011 Jennie Park added it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a fun story about how bath-toys comes to life when people are not around. It reminds me of the movie Toy Story and how all of those toys came to life as well. In this story, the tubtoy(child) gets sucked into the drain and gets split up from his family. Later on, he is reunited with the family and they are all happy again. A fun extension to this story would be to come up with creative story about how the students' toys come to life and what kind of events would take place if it happened ...more
Full of imagination! If you ever spent time as a child playing in the tub, this book is the essence of those bubbly times. The Tub People lined up pleases me to no end. Unfortunately, the tub in this story did not have a drain grate in place and one of the characters size was dangerously smaller than safety requires. Oh the perilous vortex comes into play. Will the concerned characters have the power to save the day?
Lauren Jackson
This story was okay but i liked that the tub people pretended to be real people. I liked that i could use this story as a way to create an alterntive ending. I would have my students write an alternative ending instead of the plumber finding the little boy they can create another ending. I would also bring in items and the students can write a story based off the items i brought in.
Loved this book - a story about a family of bathtub toys. The little tub boy one day falls down the bathtub drain. This has one of my all time favorite pictures, a view from underneath the tub drain looking up at the tub family who are looking down the drain to try to find their tub child! A visit from a plumber leads to a happy ending.
Jenny Hobson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mrs Bond
The Tub People are little wooden toys that live on the edge of the bath tub. One day the water goes down the drain taking the Tub Child along. The other Tub People fear he is gone forever. A plumber comes to the rescue and all Tub People are moved to the safety of the bedroom.
Diana Pettis
Xander read this to me today. Great story with predictable ending. Transitional readers would really enjoy this.
I didn't think my 3 yr old really liked it, but was able to relate the story to his dad later on that day. So he at least understood the story.

I think it is a little abstract in the sense that you don't have any interaction with 'people', just the toys.
Caitlin Coon
I love love love loved this book when I was a little little kid!! It made me love the bath tub even MORE!!!! But I love to just pick it up and read when I have nothing else to read!! It makes me feel like a little little kid again!!!
This book is a little odd to me. I used to imagine my toys had secret lives but something about the little figures seemed creepy to me. I think this would be good for a little kid who needs a long bedtime story to get to sleep.
I loved this book growing up. My mom always used to read this to me as a kid, and this was one of the ones that she read to me pretty much on a daily basis. I never got tired of reading it.
This was my all time favorite book as a kid. I honestly don't know why (the plot is about a tub toy getting stuck in a drain), but for years my parents read it to me almost every night :-)
Karen Pajot
A bath toy child gets sucked down the drain and separated from his family. but is reunited later. Students can create their own stories about what happens when their toys come to life.
This book is great for imagination, personification, adjectives, and imagery. I think everyone has played make believe with some kind of tub person or another.
Janette Wilcken
This is truely an original story. Great way to see the world--from the eyes of toys. You will be enthralled by the life of this little toy family.
Mary Lou
My first graders keep requesting this one over and over again! I think they really just like to see my cry when Tub Child gets into dire straits.
I used to read this book every night with my mom and my brother. Great book to pull lessons from, maybe about math or about family, etc.
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Pam Conrad (1947-1996) was an author for children. Her book Our House: Stories of Levittown was a Newbery Medal finalist.

Ms. Conrad was born in New York City and graduated from the New School for Social Research.
More about Pam Conrad...
Pedro's Journal Stonewords: A Ghost Story My Daniel Prairie Songs Our House: 10th Anniversary Edition

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