Cover image for The tub people
The tub people
Conrad, Pam.
Personal Author:
Tenth anniversary edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, 1999.

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 23 x 28 cm
A family of wooden toys lives on the edge of the bathtub until disaster strikes and they fear they have been separated forever.
Reading Level:
540 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.9 0.5 11193.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.5 2 Quiz: 11862 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



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.

Author Notes

Pam Conrad was born in 1947 in New York City. She attended and graduated from the New School for Social Work. She soon became a children's author. Her book Our House: Stories of Levittown was a Newberry Medal finalist. Some of her other works include: Holding Me Here, Zoe Rising, The Tub People, and Taking the Fairy Home.

Pam Conrad passed away on Jan. 22, 1996.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-6. A family of wooden figures line up on the edge of the bathtub. Along with the mother, father, grandmother, child, and dog, there is a policeman and a doctor. Although their faces do not show much expression, the Tub People delight in floating on the soap and having water races. One evening, as the bathwater rushes down the drain, the child is pulled into the whirlpool and swirls out of sight; though they call down to the child, the Tub People despair of ever finding him. Eventually the water in the tub stops draining, and a plumber is called. After pulling Tub Child from the pipe, the man throws him into his tool box and leaves; later, perhaps through magic, the child is reunited with his family. By day they now play on mountains of quilt on a soft bed, but at night they line up on a safe window sill. The story progresses swimmingly until the sudden, and unexplained, reunion of the child with his family, which jars considerably. However, this lapse in text is balanced by Egielski's exciting artwork. His Weebil-like protagonists soap surf and float in wavy-blue bathwater. With a whimsical use of perspective, the artist shows the child caught in a pipe, and in another picture, readers get a view from the drain as mother peers down. A rousing offering that makes a splash. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

According to PW, Conrad's debut‘a `simple yet sophisticated'' tale of wooden figures inhabiting a bathtub‘``maintains a childlike point of view without becoming coy or condescending''; the artwork uses ``realism, color and perspective to stunningly good effect.'' Ages 4-8. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2‘This popular story by Pam Conrad (Harper, 1989) is performed here by Coleen Salley. A family of seven small wooden dolls stand by the bathtub. One evening the Tub Child disappears down the drain and the surviving dolls are devastated. When a plumber arrives to remedy a slow drain, the Tub People wait silently. They watch the Tub Child as he is removed from the drain and taken away by the plumber. Finally, all the Tub People are carried to a large bed and reunited with the child. Deceptively simple, the tale creates tension in young listeners. Salley's warm tone and "country manner" are quite soothing and rather unconventional. Accompanying sound effects are unobtrusive. A discussion of Conrad's motivation and inspiration for the story follows the reading and enhances the presentation, making it a fine addition to read-along collections.-Fritz Mitnick, Shaler North Hills Library, Glenshaw, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.