- Age Range: 4 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (August 2, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0763665568
- ISBN-13: 978-0763665562
- Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.1 x 11.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath Paperback – August 2, 2016
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—As the author's note points out, there is not conclusive evidence that the 27th president actually got stuck in his bathtub; relevant facts are loosely cited. But seeing adults without their clothes on is the stuff of childhood humor, so this larger-than-life example will provoke much laughter. When Taft's concerned wife, Nellie, pops her head into the bathroom to see what is taking so long, the president must swallow his pride and seek help. He requests the vice president, a character painted as an opportunist seeing his chance to step into bigger shoes. The commander-in-chief continues to demand the presence of others, from the secretary of state, who proposes a diet and calisthenics, to the secretary of defense, who envisions blasting his boss out with TNT. When all seems lost, Nellie asserts herself, suggesting a team approach. Just right for reading aloud, Barnett's text is propelled with a pleasing rhythm, alliteration, and occasional rhymes: "But then came a squeak, and a slap, and a snap, and just like that… /President Taft flew from the bath." Van Dusen's spread of cascading water pitching Taft's posterior into the air and out the window will surely please the intended audience. The energy in the gouache compositions, dominated by a presidential blue, comes from the motion lines around the frustrated, fleshy, quadruple-chinned head of state, as well as the preposterous solutions proposed. As with most humor, there will be some for whom this is not funny, so sensitivity to one's audience is encouraged.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
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. Grades K-3. --Angela Leeper
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Top Customer Reviews
It's true that the illustrations show a lot of rolling skin on such a large man stuck in a tub. Unless the supervising adult interprets his near-nakedness as wrong or gross (and if you think you might, then this probably isn't the right fit for your library), children will accept it for what it is, which is simply an absurdly silly situation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
fan of the Illustrator but upon reading it, I was offended by the extent of the body shaming and the irreverent humor against this poor...Read more