The President's Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About the Presidents

Overview

Playful political poems about the penchants and peccadilloes of the presidents!

Sure, William Taft got stuck in his tub, but did you know that John Quincy Adams used to skinny-dip in the Potomac? Herbert Hoover spoke Chinese with his wife, and Gerald Ford had his name changed from Leslie Lynch King. It’s true! In The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub, the lives of the presidents are served up as fact-filled and fanciful poems that will make you laugh, cringe, and gasp with ...

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Overview

Playful political poems about the penchants and peccadilloes of the presidents!

Sure, William Taft got stuck in his tub, but did you know that John Quincy Adams used to skinny-dip in the Potomac? Herbert Hoover spoke Chinese with his wife, and Gerald Ford had his name changed from Leslie Lynch King. It’s true! In The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub, the lives of the presidents are served up as fact-filled and fanciful poems that will make you laugh, cringe, and gasp with amazement at the colorful cast of men and women who have lived in the White House. With footnotes relating the facts behind the inspiration for each poem, and a section called “Presidential Notes and Quotes” in the back, this is one hilarious history lesson that kids will elect to read over and over again!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Katz takes playful swings at U.S. presidents in poems as funny as they are informative, while Neubecker provides careful caricatures. Her entry for Jimmy Carter details his encounter with a “swamp rabbit”: “Jimmy Carter fished on his pond./ The day was fair, the water calm,/ When suddenly nearby something splashed./ Nostrils flared. Teeth flashed.” The titular poem stars William Howard Taft (“In the midst of his bath,/ Poor President Taft/ Discovered the tub didn’t fit him”), and a closing poem about Obama addresses his opponents’ tendency to joke about his name: “He jested that some even called him Yo Mama.” An unexpected and diverting look at presidents past and present. Ages 6–9. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick and Pratt Agency. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Humorous yet informative. . . . These sorts of details are just the kind to pique young readers’ interests. . . . Sure to be popular."—Booklist

"Katz takes playful swings at U.S. presidents in poems as funny as they are informative...an unexpected and diverting look at presidents past and present."—Publishers Weekly

"In forty-three poems, Katz gives each of our U.S. presidents their due."—Horn Book, starred review

From the Publisher

"Humorous yet informative. . . . These sorts of details are just the kind to pique young readers’ interests. . . . Sure to be popular."—Booklist

"Katz takes playful swings at U.S. presidents in poems as funny as they are informative...an unexpected and diverting look at presidents past and present."—Publishers Weekly

"In forty-three poems, Katz gives each of our U.S. presidents their due."—Horn Book, starred review

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Susan Katz has turned amusing facts about American Presidents into rhyme. She begins with the fact that George Washington never slept in the White House—although he designed it, the building wasn't finished until John Adam's term. As for John Adams, we learn he was called "His Rotundity" instead of the title of His Majesty which he advocated should be used for the President. Most of the Presidents through Woodrow Wilson are included—he's the one who kept sheep on the White House Lawn as part of the WWI effort. The title of each poem fits the topic and is followed by the president's name and their dates as president; each verse is followed by a short factual note. Neubecker's good humored illustrations complement the light hearted tone of the text. All in all, middle schoolers introduced to this book are likely to decide history isn't all dry as dust. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
Kirkus Reviews
This gathering of presidential foibles and fancies covers the gamut, from George W. the First to Barack. Each is set as either a poem (rhymed and free verse) or a prose poem, and all display a handling of language that both is comfortable and exhibits a certain degree of flash. Of one-eyed James Buchanan: "So he cocked his head to focus. / He could tilt his view toward a distant star, / ogle an ash on a nearby cigar, / or peer halfway to Zanzibar. / Was there anything he didn't notice?" Neubecker's illustrations are wonderful puddles of colorful personality, true to the text but amplifying it (or further poking a sharp stick into the presidential eye). The only concern here is that some of the presidential tics are a bit dull. Of course, no one will deny the import of blubbery William Howard Taft wedging himself into the White House tub and needing a team of assistants to extricate him. Or T. Jefferson the inventor, J.Q. Adams the skinny dipper or Z. Taylor's nearly missing the presidency for want of a stamp. But that J. Adams was chubby, J. Madison was small and M. Fillmore is forgotten? There's little to spark even a muted guffaw or a sympathetic nod. In the end, however, they all testify to something important: Presidents are only men (so far, anyway) and capable of every mortal weakness and weirdness. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Katz presents humorous poems about each of the U.S. presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama. The poems are of various forms, including concrete, rhyming, and free verse. The mostly clever and amusing selections are based on facts or true incidents, and the author adds a brief footnote that gives extra background about each administration. Some of the facts are similar to those found in Jane O'Connor's If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House (S & S, 2004) or Judith St. George's So You Want to Be President (Philomel, 2000), but there is also some new information. For example, Katz states that John Adams wanted to be addressed as "His Majesty," and James Monroe once threatened his Secretary of the Treasury with fireplace tongs. This book disagrees with O'Connor's account as to who was the first president to put up a Christmas tree in the White House, reflecting disagreement by scholars on the topic. Neubecker's colorful cartoons highlight the humor and add subtle details that help make each man recognizable. This is a good supplement for those who already own O'Connor's and St. George's books and want additional materials about the presidents at this reading level.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547182216
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 2/8/2012
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 367,670
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Katz discovered, while working on this book, that not all American presidents were very funny people, and she found herself doing more research for this one project than for all her other books put together.  Luckily this effort was rewarded with a fresh respect for the basic humanity of all our presidents and a new tendency to smile while voting.
        Susan's other Clarion book, Oh, Theodore! Guinea Pig Poems, was an Oprah pick, a Texas 2 X 2 Award winner, a selection of the New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, and the winner of the 2010 Utah Children's Poetry Book Beehive Award. She lives in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, with her husband, David, and a cat assistant, Harvey, who closely supervises her writing from the vantage point of her lap. She can be found online in the Authors section of http:\\usawrites4kids.drury.edu/.

Robert Neubecker 's first book for children, Wow! City! won an ALA Notable Book award for 2005. A growing list of books have followed, including Beasty Bath, Wow! America!, Wow! School!, and Courage of the Blue Boy. He has illustrated many books by other authors, including Monsters on Machines by Deb Lund and I Got Two Dogs with John Lithgow. His new book, Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth, has already received three starred reviews.

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