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President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath
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President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath

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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  447 ratings  ·  120 reviews
George Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of night.

Abraham Lincoln saved the Union.

William Howard Taft got stuck in a bathtub and then got unstuck. This is his story.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Candlewick Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 675)
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Jill
It may be that I have no sense of humor, but I have nothing positive to say about this book. It purports to be about the 27th President of the United States, who also was the only president also to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But all this book tells you about Taft is that he was fat. And then it proceeds to make fun of him, portraying him as ridiculous, repulsive, and feckless.

The illustrations by Chris Van Dusen are bound to make children laugh, which is also unfortunate, since
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Shanshad Whelan
Oh dear. I'm sure this was meant to be a hilarious idea. Chris Van Dusen's illustrations are bright and bold and certainly in keeping with the wild text--however I don't think I've ever wanted to see that much bare naked president in my life--even if it is just a drawing.

This tale takes an anecdote that may or may not have been true and turns it into a wild romp of people trying to get the president unstuck from the bathtub.

Now I have no problems with bathtubs or people in them. King Bidgood's
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Caryn Caldwell
While it has never been proven, legend has it that President Taft was so large that he once got stuck in his bathtub. This book explores what might have happened that day -- provided it actually did happen, that is.

Although the book aims for humor over accuracy, the first page does introduce Taft's other accomplishments, while an author's note at the end explains the mythology of the bathtub story and outlines many other facts about President Taft. The illustration of Taft's barely-concealed nak
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Samantha
A hyperbole based on a rumored story about President Taft. On the one hand, it irks me that for all his achievements this is how he is remembered and presented for children. On the other hand, after the initial two page spread the story reads very much like cumulative folktales such as The Great Big Enormous Turnip in that there is a problem and many characters are called in to solve it, and ending with a big finish.

Following the story is an author's note that includes a photo of the bathtub Taf
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Jen
We have all heard the report of President Taft actually getting stuck in a tub during his Presidency. While the story is familiar, this book shows the frustration Taft had and the possible solutions suggested by various people into getting him out. One thing that kind of bothered me in this book was how his wife kept trying to interject with an idea, but then she'd be ignored for another man's idea. I'm sure that was the way it was during that time period, but it frustrated me.
Michele Knott
Maybe the story is true, maybe not, but it's funny to read! Mac Barnett did a great job writing this amusing story and Chris Van Dusen's illustrations will have kids rolling on the floor.
Young children will enjoy this humorous story, but I think older kids will actually appreciate the government people and terms that are mentioned in the story.
Read the story once for the humor, go back and look for the details that you missed the first time!
Although, I will say, after reading the reviews, I do a
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Shandra
Funny, yet not. I felt uncomfortable with the book's angle of making fun of a man stuck in the bath due to his size. I did find the facts on the last page interesting, as I had never heard this story before. No one knows if it's true, but apparently it has been rumored since Taft's presidency... Still, not sure I would read this for storytime. Maybe one on one with some discussion.
Hayley DeRoche
The title pretty much gives away why this gets 5 stars. President Taft is stuck in the bath. There you go. I'm yours, book. You had me at President Taft is stuck in the bath.
Nancy
What a hoot! Whether Taft really got stuck in the tub or if it's urban legend, this is a fun book. Looking forward to reading it to my classes.
Amy Vaterlaus
This was such a fun book with great illustrations! I am excited to see what Jase thinks of this one =)
Jennifer
“President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath” by Mac Barnett is a hilarious read aloud that retells the story of the United States’ twenty-seventh president allegedly getting trapped in the bathtub. While many parents may consider this book insulting to our country’s political history, I believe it is a fun way to make a President seem relatable, and also puts a humorous twist on an old wives’ tail. This book explores what hypothetically may have happened that day at the White House. The author must hav ...more
Hailey Indiere
President Taft Is Stuck In a Bath (2014) by Mac Barnett
Historical Fiction

In this book, President Taft is in a tricky situation. He's actually stuck in the bathtub! His wife comes in and offers a solution, but he keeps cutting her off and sending for various members of his staff to hear their solutions. Eventually, none of them work and he's about to resign, much to the delight of the Vice President, but then President Taft finally listens to his wife and gets out of his sticky situation.
• Altho
...more
Becky B
President Taft is in a tricky situation. He's stuck in the bath. His wife comes in and offers a solution, but he keeps cutting her off and sending for various members of his staff to hear their solutions. Eventually, none of them work and he's about to resign (much to the delight of the Vice President), but then Taft finally listens to his wife and gets unstuck.

If you read the author's notes in the back, you'll read that this is based on a possibly real situation. Though there is no hard evidenc
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Kaitlin
This is the great story of how President Taft got stuck in his bath. President Taft was a large man during his presidency and there were many a rumor that said that he got stuck in the White House bathtub. We follow Taft’s trials as he calls every secretary imaginable along with his V.P. to help him get out of this tub! It becomes quite an episode as we see the different ways that the various secretaries plan to get him out of the bath, all of them being ridiculous and outrageous. Everyone is ru ...more
babyhippoface
27th President of the United States, William Howard Taft was the only president to serve as chief justice of the Supreme Court. (He also gave us the federal income tax, but I'm trying to overlook that.) But if you ask most people what they remember about William Howard Taft, it’s usually only that he was our largest president, weighing in at over 300 pounds.

I’m pretty sure that’s not what I would want to be remembered for, but there are some memorable stories to go along with it. This funny new
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Dawn
President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett. Sommerville, MA: Candlewick Press (2014). 32 p, ISBN: 9780763663179.

Playing on the often told story of President Taft getting stuck in his bathtub, this story opens with a chubby President Taft wedged into a small bathtub. His wife, Nellie (along with their dog), checks in on him, and when she tried to give him advice, he interrupts her, calling for his vice president, and secretaries of state, agriculture, war, navy, treasury, and interior. Th
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Shawn Thrasher
I'm a sucker for books about presidents and first ladies - (So You Want to Be President? is a favorite of mine), so I opened this book up with a happy heart. Mac Barnett and Chris Van Dusen did not disappoint. About a hundred years ago, our largest (to-date) president may (or may not: see the end pages) have gotten stuck in his bathtub. Barnett, who is once again a hoot of a storyteller - has Taft calling to the First Lady, VP, and every cabinet member (it's a civics lesson too!) who each have a ...more
Great Books
Based loosely on the legend that the robust twenty-seventh president got stuck in the bathtub, this story grows more preposterous by the page as different cabinet members offer unlikely solutions to solve the problem. The hilarious caricature illustrations make this a book that will captivate young readers. Reviewer 12.
Cris Gomez
I had always heard that President Taft was a bit overweight, but this book sealed the deal. It is an extremely comical book of how President Taft was stuck in a bathtub. I do not feel confortable reading this to my Kindergarten class as it requires some level of maturity. Although this book is very comical I think it lacks some academic importance. I can think of a handful of historical fiction books that would be more meaningful for my students. However, I would read this to my students if I ha ...more
Cindy
Mac Barnett is quickly becoming one of my favorite current authors of children's books. I love his wit and sarcasm. This book was a recent purchase for my elementary school library, and I couldn't wait to read it to the kids! It is clever, funny, and a little irreverent. Right up my alley! The story is based on fact...or what is assumed to be fact. He includes information about our 27th president, with a photo of his enormous, custom-built tub, and some "believe-it-or-not" facts about the main e ...more
Barbara
Based on an anecdote about the nation's twenty-seventh president, this picture book pokes fun at the man's girth. While certainly not politically correct, the book does contain plenty of humor because of his behavior and the inability of all his appointed secretaries to solve the problem. The gouache illustrations highlight his growing frustration at their incompetence while the text keeps reminding readers of the vice president's eagerness to be sworn in to office and his First Lady's attempts ...more
Carol
Oh my! There certainly was a lot of President Taft, wasn't there? I kind of had to focus on his eyes and face and try to ignore the rest. Van Dusen just makes his people so, shiny! Everywhere! It kind of reminded me of King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Wood. I just feel a little uncomfortable reading about a man in the bathtub with lots of people parading in and out. The part where Taft flew out the window was particularly disturbing. Oh yeah, I think the most icky part was "Send deep-sea divers ...more
Kris
For the giggle factor of someone stuck in the bath (which Chris Van Dusen did a great job illustrating), this is fun. I love the idea of reading it to kids who are studying the presidents, too, and even the hierarchy of cabinet members.
Venus
There are many myths surrounding our US Presidents. George Washington and the cherry tree. Honest Abe. Have you ever heard the one about President Taft who, despite having a special tub made for him, was still too large and got stuck in the bath? This story chronicles the late President's dilemma as he, his wife, and various government officials try to come up with a solution.

Part of me wants to say that this is a story in bad taste. After all, Van Dusen doesn't shy away from the many fat folds
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Emmalee Nelson
The president is stuck in the bath tub! Can no one get him out? The secretary of the treasury says they should throw money at him. The secretary of the interior says they should milk all the cows to make tons of butter. Every new secretary called to his aid has a new outrageous Idea, but will any of them work? you will have to read it to find out.

One fun thing to do with a reading group is pass around Chinese handcuffs then split into groups problem solving how they would get them off. Teamwor
...more
Megan
This was a fun story about President Taft getting stuck in his bathtub in the White House. He calls in various government officials to get him out and none of them can come up with a plan (sound familiar?). Finally, Taft listens to his wife when she suggests they all grab hold of Taft and pull him from the tub. The end of the book has a list of facts we know about Taft and his obsession with oversized tubs. Certainly an interesting read, kids could learn a little about government offices and som ...more
Holly
Poor President Taft. What an unfortunate legacy that may or may not even be true. I think kids will think the story, and especially the illustrations, funny, but may also be disturbed at the idea of all those people in Taft's personal space!! I do think the ideas of the various cabinet members of how to get Taft out of the bathtub were clever (the secretary of agriculture wanted to try freshly churned butter and the secretary of war wanted to blast him out with dynamite). It was also clever of t ...more
Alice
3 and a half
I liked the fact list at the end about what we actually know, but seeing there is no proof whatsoever that President Taft got stuck in the bathtub (it actually seems unlikely to me since he seems to have had custom bath tubs made regularly--but then again, if one had once been stuck in a tub, one might take precautions in the future)--anyway, seeing there is no proof and this was a great man who went on to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme court, it just doesn't seem right that wha
...more
Stefanie
My take on this is thus: Taft was fat, we learned this in school. I think if that is an entry point for kids to be interested in history and remember something, than great! I don't think this is just a fat joke book, Taft is shown trying to problem solve and be diplomatic; allowing that if he got stuck in his bath, perhaps he is unfit for office. And it shows his wife as the one who saves the day.

I don't think it is the authors intention for this book to be the sole history of President Taft...
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Shelli
Poor President Taft is best known for being the only president to become stuck into the white house bathtub; leading to a purchase of an oversized tub for the rotund leader. This picture book is comical retelling of those possible events, since apparently the situation is not 100% confirmed as factual. While I don’t love the idea of poking fun at anyone for their outward appearance, I do think the story humanizes the Taft and the Presidency to remind young readers that these powerful commanders ...more
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Born to non-farmers in a California farming community, Mac now lives near San Francisco. He's on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center for students in Los Angeles, and he founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers.
More about Mac Barnett...
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