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Archive for January 15th, 2015

taft cover

by Sam Juliano

Audrey and Don Wood’s creative and utterly delightful King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub had the grave misfortune of releasing the same year as Chris Van Alsberg’s now iconic The Polar Express.  Sure, it did land a Caldecott Honor, but in any other year it probably would have been basking in the gold.  The husband and wife team’s miniature phantasmagorical aquatic spreads in oil on press board are unique, and brought attention to the bathtub that has never been afforded before and since.  Still, this year’s release of President Taft is Stuck in the Tub, by laugh smith Mac Barnett, with illustrations by Chris Van Dusen, brings the most attention paid the tank shaped wash basin since the good old king turned it into a place to conduct battles and consume hearty lunches.  Unlike the monarch, who wanted to stay in his tub indefinitely,  President Taft was unable to leave due to his immense girth, and the inability of the old-fashioned basin to afford him enough room.  Taft, the 27th President, purportedly weighed over 340 pounds at one point, and was known to have a voracious appetite.  The jury is still out on the story told in President Taft, but some reports have long claimed the incident occurred on March 4, 1909, which technically is the very first day of his term in office.  What we do known for sure is that Taft was the heaviest President ever, and that it is within the realm of possibility that such a quagmire could have taken place. (more…)

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draw cover

by Sam Juliano

My visit to the confessional this past week turn out to be a most unorthodox experience for both my pastor the Rev. Peter Sticco, as well as yours truly.  When I was asked the perfunctory “What are your sins?” I responded with a disclaimer that even shocked the good Father.  “Father” I meekly replied.  “Would you consider it a sin to make some unfair statements about a book, or a film or a musical composition?”  The Father responded with a trace of incredulity.   “What are you saying that is ‘unfair?’  “Father, I said some very unflattering things about a children’s book that many people adore, but that I on several first viewings was rather indifferent for.  I even went as far as to question a few of my esteemed fellow writers and book lovers about their sanity in loving such a book to the vaunted levels of gleeful delirium they espoused.  I have since seen the light, similar to the way Godless people finally discover the Lord.  From the depths of despair I have now been enlightened and ravished by a most beautiful thing, a picture book masterwork that was looking at me squarely from the start, but until the past week was too blinkered to discover.  In the end I was absolved, and told that whatever unflattering words I may have initially voiced are now water under the bridge after my aesthetic epiphany. (more…)

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