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The Tub People (Tub People)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  621 Ratings  ·  69 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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(showing 1-30)
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Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What is it about this quiet, quirky kids' story that makes me cry every time I read it?
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Savannah Olson
Feb 10, 2015 rated it liked it
The Tub People is a story of six little people that live in the bathtub, along with their dog. They play in the water and like to rescue each other and at night they line up on the edge of the bathtub. One night when the bath water began rushing down the drain before the tub people could get to the edge the tub child began to sink further into the whirlpool and soon he was washed down the drain and his father could not rescue him. His family was worried, they called out for him hoping for him to ...more
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
We were home visiting my family last week and when we visit my two-year-old now sleeps in the room that was my brother's when he was a kid, so while we were in town I read her several books that had belonged to him when he was little. I remembered this book, but only vaguely, so I grabbed it off the shelf and thought, "Oh yeah, Tub People! Let's read this one!" And then I realized the story is basically about a child that gets sucked down a bath tub drain. I immediately regretted the choice and ...more
Inhabiting Books
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
Mackenzie Sipes
Reaction: I thought this book was a little weird but had a unique story line. As an adult, I thought it was really silly but I can see the appeal to children. It is kind of like a mediocre version of Toy Story.

Read Aloud:I would read this book aloud to preschoolers. The imagination is so silly it would probably be very entertaining to them. They could relate to it because they all have dolls they play with and create imaginary lives before. Overall, it would just be entertainment to the
Margaret Chind
May 16, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Paige Cedergreen
Personal Reaction: I thought this was a cute story. None of the characters were very round they all tended to be fairly flat characters but there was a problem and solution to the story.

I think that this book is better for kindergarten and first graders. It is rich in figurative language specifically personification such as stating that "the soap danced over to the drain". The vocabulary is appropriate for this age range but is not too challenging or new for them. There are a few words that coul
Chris Go
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"The Tub People" is about a set of figurines that have a life of their own outside of bath time. The Tub People are made up of the Tub mother, father, child, grandmother, doctor, police officer, and dog. One day, the Tub Child goes missing down the drain. Reactions to this book definitely vary. Some find it too long. Others see it as spooky. But at its heart it is about loss and the importance of family. The illustrations are amazing. Despite that the Tub People's faces never change to show emot ...more
Janet Luch
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The wooden tub people live on the edge of the tub and get to play in the water at bath time. All is going well until the tub child is sucked down the drain. The big people come and the tub child is eventually saved. The tub people move, however, to the bed and line up along the window after this incident.
This book was recommended to me by a young man who still fondly remembers playing with toys in the bath tub when he was little. This book helps children imagine a life for their toys. A three-y
Jennie Park
Apr 07, 2011 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
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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?
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.
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-book
I love the artwork of this book, which is what my rating is for, however I can not recommend it to be read to young children, especially if you know they have issues with either drains or baths and both are fairly common issues.

The child tub toy falls down the drain and the whole family stands by helpless and unable to do anything until he is "rescued" by accident by a plumber, and even that isn't exactly a positive experience.
Dawn Van Ness
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jennifer Heise
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Amar Pai
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
The topic of this book (sentient bath toys and their emotional lives) was relevant to my interests
Tad heteronormative, but you could say that about 99% of kids books
Someone should make a list of the 1%
At least this doesn't have anthropomorphic animals.
Someone should make that list as well
Or a website that lets you pick particular traits
I should do that
Maybe I will
Lauren Jackson
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was sold hard on this book, and so I feel guilty about giving this a lackluster review. Because while I think this is a cute enough story, with nice illustrations, it seemed strangely lacking. I was almost convinced that I was somehow missing pages in my book, because there just wasn't a lot to it. Perhaps I expected too much!
Jenny Hobson
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caitlin Coon
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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!!!
Mrs Bond
Mar 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebook, family, 547
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.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This was popular when I first started teaching so I was interested to read it with my son. He got pretty sad when the boy was lost and the others were looking for him. Thankfully it has a happy ending.
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sonlight-p3-4
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.
May 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Cute easy-reader children's book about the Tub People who spend most of their days lined up on the edge of the bathtub, until the son slips down the drain one day. Human characters are only talked about/alluded to in the book, so it would be a good read for children to discuss perspective.
Thera Grady
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
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!
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Tub People (3 books)
  • The Tub Grandfather
  • The Tub People's Christmas

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