Tuesday, June 10, 2014

President Taft is Stuck in the Bath

Booklist (March 15, 2014 (Vol. 110, No. 14))
Grades K-3. No amount of squeezing and shimmying or hefting and stretching will do: President Taft is stuck in the bath. Even if the entire event may not be true, Barnett turns the nonetheless legendary story into a hilarious cabinet-level fiasco as the president calls in one secretary after another to help, with the secretary of agriculture ready to grease the sides with butter, and the secretary of war even offering to blow up the tub. Only the level-headed First Lady suggests all the assembled men pull Taft out of the bath at once. The combination of Barnett’s repetitive assonance (“‘Double blast!’ said Taft. ‘Blast and drat!’”) and Van Dusen’s gouache caricature illustrations (with strategically placed water and bubbles) sets the hilarious tone. A concluding author’s note reveals an archival photo of four men sitting in Taft’s custom-built bathtub for the White House and presents the actual facts pertaining to the president and his numerous commissioned bathtubs. Studying the presidency need never be dull again.

No comments: