President Taft is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen is bubbly fun. My first 3 impressions:
1. Those bubbles shine - as in some of the bubbles on the front cover are shiny and look wet.
2. Ooooo, it's Mac Barnett, this is going to be good.
3. Hmmm, I wonder if this will be similar to the Caldecott Honor book King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood?
So with those first thoughts, I dug into my first book to review that was sent to me from a publisher and not just blogged because it's a new book at my library.
This story sticks to the legend of President Taft getting stuck in the tub. It takes it to great exaggeration when the Vice President is asked to help, then the Secretary of State, and another cabinet member and another... until they finally listen to the first lady and he becomes unstuck. I love how as each new person enters to help, the helping gets worse and worse. The artwork matches the words to a T and then some with added amplification in the pictures with butter churning, the president's dog and wife in the background, and the most horrible suggestion by the Secretary of War when he wants to blast Taft out of the tub.
The illustrations were done in gouache. They set the scene of the presidential bath and thankfully the bubbles and suds cover the president during his stuck state. The pictures show the personalities of all in attendance with glee. There is an author's note and facts page.
I'll share this with older, 4 -5 year-olds in preschool. I think this would spark great discussion with the Kindergarten to Third grade students and may even reach a little higher. The ideal use would be with a unit for 3rd grade that introduces Tall Tales and other classic literature. Comparing this title with Johnny Appleseed, John Henry, and other legends and tall tales would fall right into the standards for third grade.