Clarion Books, 2012. 978-0547182216.
Synopsis: 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. – from Amazon.com
Why I picked it up: The title caught my eye as I was looking at poetry books for National Poetry Month.
Why I finished it: I’m a huge nerd, a huge history buff, and I love learning useless facts; this book spoke to all three of these quirks. We learn about the Presidents in school and there are a handful of songs we learned so we could remember the presidents, but nothing quite as odd ball as these historical and fact-based poems. Included along with the poems are footnotes about the facts that inspired the poem and an index with ‘Presidential Notes and Quotes’ that has even more fun facts. Neubecker’s illustrations are humorous and childlike, but it adds to the realism of the poems. The use of heavy black lines to outline and shade each individual subject, from people to inanimate objects. It’s a book that makes history a little bit lighter, funnier, and more approachable.
Other related materials: Rutherford B., Who Was He?: Poems About Our Presidents by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by John Hendrix; Founding Mothers; Remembering the Ladies by Cokie Roberts, illustrated by Diane Goode; Presidential Pets: The Weird, Wacky, Little, Big, Scary, Strange Animals That Have Lived in the White House by Julia Moberg, Yo, Millard Fillmore! (And All Those Other Presidents You Don’t Know) by Will Cleveland and Mark Alvarez, illustrated by Tate Nation; Smart About the Presidents written and illustrated by Jon Buller, Maryann Cocca-Leffler, Dana Regan, Susan Schade, and Jill Weber; Smart About the First Ladies written and illustrated by Jon Buller, Susan Schade, Dana Regan, Sally, Warner, and Jill Weber; The New Big Book of U.S. Presidents: Fascinating Facts about Each and Every President, Including an American History Timeline by Todd Davis and Marc Frey; The American Story: 100 True Tales from American History by Jennifer Armstrong, illustrated by Roger Roth; World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Anna Raff