"The sad thing is, I like it" - Maurice Sendak
"The perfect gift to give a child or grandchild for their high school or college graduation.
Also Father's Day.
Also, other times."
- Stephen Colbert
|Publication Date:||May 08, 2012|
|Average Customer Rating:|| based on 218 reviews|
|Average Customer Review: ( 218 customer reviews )
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193 of 206 found the following review helpful:
Stephen Colbert's gem is a tribute to Maurice Sendak May 08, 2012
By John Williamson
Simply put, Stephen Colbert's I Am A Pole (And So Can You!) is the funniest under 10-minute read that I've thumbed through and then read this year... and maybe last year as well!
Like the best of Colbert's work, this one offers a preposterous concept in a very straight-faced tongue-in-cheek way that artfully lampoons children's books, politics and pop culture even as it embraces it. Page after page (OK, there are only 32 pages here), Colbert's prose entertains, and Paul Hildebrand's witty illustrations just amplify the words we find as we first flip through this book, then go into it again, looking for depth and then discovering that it's just pure Colbert. And that's exactly what makes it so good.
Warning: put your coffee down as you read this book, unless you want a messed up shirt.
Right there on the cover and the dust jacket is perhaps the finest endorsement that this truly witty book could have, one written by the late Maurice Sendak:
"The sad thing is, I like it!"
~ Maurice Sendak
Coincidently, Maurice Sendak passed away today, and one can only wish and think that he's out there, chuckling to himself, as he had his own part to play in the making of this book, and is acknowledged as such with the special thanks that Colbert posted within.
This reader was first alerted to this this book in a January 2012 video clip on The Colbert Report, one where the late author and illustrator Maurice Sendak was being interviewed by Stephen Colbert on the current state of children's books ("The Cow That Jumped Over The Moon? That's physically impossible!"), and the largely non-political segment was hilarious. Sendak said that anything by Dr. Seuss was good, and that he liked Curious George.
As the interview went on, Colbert noted that many celebrities were cashing in on children's books and that he wanted in. He asked: "What does it take for a celebrity to make a successful book?"
Maurice Sendak's reply was a classic: "You've started already by being an idiot."
Sendak gave Colbert some outrageous advice on how to publish a book, which included a truly a hilarious tutorial on how to draw a pole. Fortunately for us, those images appear within the book... a fitting tribute to the wit and genius of Maurice Sendak.
Like many others, this reader took first Colbert's book to be another tongue-in-cheek parody, another jab at popular culture. But then in February, Colbert and Grand Central Books announced that the book would be published in May. When I saw that, I'll admit that I had to order the hardbound edition here... and am glad that I did.
It should be noted that Tom Hanks narrates the audiobook version of the story, I Am A Pole (And So Can You!) on CD, complete with a PDF of images from the book. Colbert and Hanks will be donating 100% of the money they receive for the reading of this audio recording to U.S. Vets (United States Veterans Initiative). That was enough for me, so I had to order that version as well.
And note the silver Caldecott Eligible seal on the cover as can be seen in the book jacket here... with a flying pig and all!
So who should get this book? Who should read it? When I started to post this review, Amazon asked me: "Are you over 13? Yes/No". There is one particular segment where an eyebrow (or two) might be raised among the politically correct, but that's up to individual tastes, and I'm not dropping any spoilers. In any case, this book would be a perfect Father's Day gift regardless of your political bent, as there's a surprisingly patriotic side to part of Colbert's new book.
And for those die-hard Stephen Colbert fans out there, he has another gem coming this fall: America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't. This one is due to be available on October 2nd, 2012, just before the elections. Can he give America the dose of truth it needs to get back on track?
"I Am A Pole" is a 5-star read for those who can see beyond politics and enjoy a book for kids of all ages, as long as they're 13 or over. And if any of my relatives or close friends happen to be reading this, now you know what you'll be getting as a gift from me on that appropriate occasion.
62 of 69 found the following review helpful:
Colbert Nation Unite! May 08, 2012
By Boston Gal
Another terrific read from Dr. Rev. Stephen T. Colbert, Esq. Everybody should buy a copy of this for Christmas (and all other occasions) to keep Stephen's humor close by. He did a brilliant interview back in January with Maurice Sendak, who inspired this book, and whom we remember fondly today on the day of his death (May 8, 2012). God bless you Stephen and Maurice!
22 of 23 found the following review helpful:
Best kids book for adults ever! May 09, 2012
Fastest I've ever read a book. It's longer than what he read to Sendak in the interview back in January, plus it's got a lot of extra fun things like on the cover, inside the cover, on the back cover, etc.
If you do read it to your kids, just skip over the stripper page. It is a good kids book that they will read again when they are adults and love it all over again for other reasons.
Ironic that Sendak died the day of the release of the book. It's like a fitting tribute!
20 of 23 found the following review helpful:
So beautiful and deep May 09, 2012
so beautiful and deep, this book... it's just too beautiful to even review. the quote by Maurice Sendak just brought me to tears. the illustrations are colorful. i can't wait for book #2 and of course the film. keep up the good work. buy this book and support poles everywhere.
47 of 59 found the following review helpful:
Great for children of all ages** May 08, 2012
By Ron Cronovich
**except children under 18
Exactly what you'd expect of a children's book written by Stephen Colbert: self-aggrandizing, patriotic, faux right-wing, not keen on evolution, thinly veiled adult humor. And of course, hilarious.
If you're thinking of picking this up, check out the 2-minute opening clip from the April 24 episode of The Colbert Report for a funny introduction to the book. (I'll put a link in the comments section.)
The book is very short, just 30 pages or so. Even admiring the art work on each page (and it's fun artwork), you'll get through it in 10 minutes.
But if you're a fan of Stephen's type of humor, you'll enjoy this a lot, and it's fun to have on the coffee table when friends drop in.
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