The Monster in the Bathhouse

by Sina Merabian (Author) Sina Merabian (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

How to Catch a Monster meets Persian myth in this engaging picture book set in a lively Iranian bathhouse the day before the Persian New Year as three boys encounter something unexpected.

The bathhouse is always busy the day before Nowruz. Everyone wants to be clean for the new year! As three boys enjoy their day at the bathhouse with their fathers, they hear a strange sound and decide to investigate. There's a big mess, and they hear the sound of someone--or something--large splashing in the baths. What could it be? An unruly guest? A four-legged intruder? Or perhaps...a monster?

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When the “monster” turns out to be a cat, the boys and men have a good laugh and a new story to tell for Nowruz.

School Library Journal

There is a Div (Persian monster) threatening to ruin Nowruz (the new year) in the bathhouse. A group of friends think they have seen the Div and warn their fathers, who in turn find only a small cat walking through the beautiful building—giving everyone a good laugh. Soft, colorful illustrations, punctuated by bright reds, complement the narrative that introduces Nowruz, including its rituals. The beautifully illustrated architecture and decor of the bathhouse provide an ideal setting for the excitement and rituals of holiday preparation. For readers celebrating Nowruz, this book is a fun way to get excited for the new year, with a thrilling Div tale. For readers unfamiliar with it, Merabian provides a brief summary, its traditions, and how this tale fits in with Persian storytelling. VERDICT For libraries looking to expand juvenile architecture or holiday collections, this tale fills a niche.—Jessica Schriver, Rutgers Univ., Camden, NJ

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.


 In this delightful story, everyone, from kids to cats to monsters, celebrates the new year.
Sina Merabian
Sina Merabian is an author-illustrator of picture books and longer work. Her work can be playful or macabre, and she enjoys the opportunity to work with intricate patterns and unique locales.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication date
February 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV051000 - Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
JUV017080 - Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Other, Non-Religious
JUV012060 - Juvenile Fiction | Legends, Myths, Fables | Asian
Library of Congress categories
New Year
Nawrauz (Festival)

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