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President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath · Candlewick Press 2014

President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath

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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 the bathtub. Author Mac Barnett uses his full comedic weight to imagine a parade of clueless cabinet members advising the exasperated president. “Blast!”

Excerpts from Reviews

“Van Dusen depicts the mustached, apoplectic president scrunched with knees to chest; in gouache caricatures, he emphasizes Taft’s ample flesh and visualizes the staffers’ dubious solutions.” –Publishers Weekly

“The soapiest, splashiest frolic featuring a head of state since Audrey and Don Wood’s ‘King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub’ (1985).” –Kirkus Reviews

“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 comes from the motion lines around the frustrated, fleshy, quadruple-chinned head of state, as well as the preposterous solutions proposed.” –School Library Journal

President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath


  • A Junior Library Guild Selection

Personal Notes

I love historical fiction and this my kind of story, but it was a bit tricky to illustrate since practically the whole story takes place in one place- the bathtub! Luckily Mac Barnett’s colorful story allowed me to add fun visuals to energize each scene. By the way, Taft and all of his cabinet members depicted in this story are loosely based on their actual appearances.