I’m back…..

Ok, maybe you haven’t wondered where I’ve been, but I will tell you anyway. September through November is always my insane time of year between coaching LEGO League, organizing the school Barnes and Noble Bookfair, planning two birthday parties (Minecraft! Cut the Rope!), and making Halloween costumes (ok, just the Minecraft Steve mask). Now I’m planning a Little Golden Books baby shower for my sister-in-law. And those are just all the extracurriculars. Honestly, by the time I get to Thanksgiving, I will feel like I’m on vacation.

So, enough about me. Without further ado, I present my PPBF pick, which has been sitting in my office for over a month.

TITLE:  President Taft is Stuck in the Bath

AUTHOR: Mac Barnett

ILLUSTRATOR: Chris Van Dusen

PUBLICATION INFO: Candlewick 2014

ISBN: 978-0763663179

SOURCE: library

INTENDED AUDIENCE: preschool to grade 3

GENRE: historical fiction picture book


“William Howard Taft was the twenty-seventh president of the United States. He busted monopolies, instituted the federal income tax, and became the only president to also serve as chief justice of the Supreme Court.”

From the publisher:

“‘Blast!’ said Taft. ‘This could be bad.’

George Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of night. Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. And President William Howard Taft, a man of great stature — well, he got stuck in a bathtub. Now how did he get unstuck? Author Mac Barnett and illustrator Chris Van Dusen bring their full comedic weight to this legendary story, imagining a parade of clueless cabinet members advising the exasperated president, leading up to a hugely satisfying, hilarious finale.”


WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: One word: hilarious. Who cares if the story is true? Van Dusen’s images of Taft spilling out over the tub crack me up every time. Don’t believe me?


  • Visit the William H. Taft Historic Site in Cincinnati to learn about Taft’s real accomplishments (besides getting unstuck).
  • I feel like this book is begging for a simple machines activity. Can YOU figure out a way to get Taft unstuck? A pulley? A lever?
  • Take a bath. Hopefully you won’t get stuck. Use some bathtub crayons for some real fun.

You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!


  1. Couldn’t wait to get to this share. He ate to much rich White House food of course! Hilarious. I love historical fiction! Especially when he is an Ohio son. I did some work with his grandson who was our Governor Bob Taft a few years ago. Nice man.

  2. I’ve heard about this story many times. It was inevitable that someone would write a picture book about it! Fun. My HS was named after Taft, and it was the school the musical, “Grease” (supposedly)! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving celebration!

  3. This does sound just so funny I have to get it. I could use a big laugh any ole time. Love humourous picture books. Thanks for introducing it to us, Kirsten!

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving! 🙂

  4. Looks like the best way to teach history to young folks. Sometimes all it takes is a great teacher. I never would have expected my daughter to be so interested, but she loves it – thanks to her 10th gr. teacher!

  5. I’ve been hearing about this one. I think it’s time to see for myself. That illustration is hilarious! And I think my son would like this even if he just turned 11. The humor would draw him in. Thanks!

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