President Taft is Stuck in the Bath
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
George Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of night. Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. And President William Howard Taft got stuck in a bathtub, and then got unstuck. This is his story.
The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Picture Book of the Year
“Although there's considerably more naked flesh on display then in the average picture book, there's no denying the riveting spectacle of Taft's struggle.”
“Just right for reading aloud.”
—School Library Journal
“Barnett spins a probably apocryphal but nonetheless hilarious incident into a Cabinet-level crisis.”
“[A] delightful, smart, and silly story about the most famous bathtub misadventure in U.S. presidential history….Fleshy, funny, and fact-checked, this perfect Inauguration Day read-aloud will plump up any presidential collection.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
The combination of Barnett’s repetitive assonance 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.
The funniest kids' history book we've seen in a while. ... Lots of silly fun.
—New York Post
The illustrations perfectly match the tone and tenor of Barnett’s words. Taft is depicted in all his large, naked glory, but the illustrations give the President an air of authority and dignity. The book itself is physically large, though Taft is largest of all, filling up his spacious bathroom with his voluminous body and endless cacophony. Kids will enjoy the humor and energy in this story and be intrigued by the notion that presidents are people, too.
—Library Media Connection
Each page is a deliciously smooth (like chocolate!) series of illustrations of the drama -- images where the rolls of flesh almost become animated themselves. How did Van Dusen do it? ... He makes the most of Mac Barnett's hilarious, imaginative and yet still respectful tale. ... This book rewards readers of all ages.
—The Sunday Plain Dealer
Van Dusen's exaggerated gouache illustrations contribute to the author's merry absurdities.
—San Jose Mercury News
The text is humorous and early 20th century-sounding, with oversized illustrations and suit the subject perfectly.
—Palo Alto Weekly