The Big Bath House (Hardcover)

The Big Bath House By Kyo Maclear, Gracey Zhang (Illustrator) Cover Image

The Big Bath House (Hardcover)

By Kyo Maclear, Gracey Zhang (Illustrator)


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A joyful celebration of Japanese cultural traditions and body positivity as a young girl visits a bath house with her grandmother and aunties

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY New York Public LibraryNPRPublishers WeeklyKirkus ReviewsHorn BookThe American Library Association • ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project

You'll walk down the street / Your aunties sounding like clip-clopping horses / geta-geta-geta / in their wooden sandals / Until you arrive... / At the bath house / The big bath house.

In this celebration of Japanese culture and family and naked bodies of all shapes and sizes, join a little girl--along with her aunties and grandmother--at a traditional bath house. Once there, the rituals leading up to the baths begin: hair washing, back scrubbing, and, finally, the wood barrel drumroll. Until, at last, it's time, and they ease their bodies--their creased bodies, newly sprouting bodies, saggy, jiggly bodies--into the bath. Ahhhhhh!
With a lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations, this picture book is based on Kyo Maclear's loving memories of childhood visits to Japan, and is an ode to the ties that bind generations of women together.
Kyo Maclear is a critically acclaimed author whose books have received starred reviews, appeared on numerous "Best of" lists, and been published in multiple languages around the world. One of her picture books, Virginia Wolf, has been adapted for the stage, and another, Julia, Child, is currently being adapted into an animated television series. Visit her on the web at

Gracey Zhang is a freelance illustrator and animator. She graduated with her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her first author-illustrator picture book, Lala's Words, will be published in 2021 by Scholastic. Visit her on the web at
Product Details ISBN: 9780593181959
ISBN-10: 0593181956
Publisher: Random House Studio
Publication Date: November 16th, 2021
Pages: 40
Language: English
★ "A must-have celebration of cultural understanding and community—and the joy of family." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ "Maclear and Zhang portray with great warmth the nourishment offered by this cultural institution, making clear to readers the ritual’s cozy, home-away-from-home feeling." Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ " …a warm and tender story of time with beloved distant family.” The Bulletin, starred review

★ "Zhang's bouyant illustrations in ink, gouache, and watercolors match the water-focused story with transparent, watery hues anchored by strong black outlining. —The Horn Book, starred review

★ “[An] exuberant celebration of family.” —BookPage, starred review