I remembered reading Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham (Harper and Row, 1956), as a kid, so I picked it up again to relive it now, reading it to my son (he’s currently 15 months).
Harry the white dog with black spots doesn’t want to take a bath, so he hides his scrubbing brush in the backyard and runs away, having all sorts of fun getting dirty. Of course, he feels lonely and returns to his home. Returning home, he now looks like a black dog with white spots, so his family doesn’t recognize him. He must return to his hiding spot and unbury the brush in order to get his family to clean him up again.
The original story was originally printed with only black-and-white illustrations. Now there are splashes of color (green and yellow). This one stands the test of time, even without that. It’s a fun, simple story of learning to appreciate what we have: family, friends, and even having a bath!