I Am a Pole (And So Can You!)

Stephen Colbert, illus. by Paul Hildebrand. Grand Central, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4555-2342-9
Starring a dopily earnest, bug-eyed pole seeking a purpose in life, Colbert’s tongue-in-cheek debut picture book was born out of a segment with Maurice Sendak on the Colbert Report, in which the late author/illustrator decried the talentless individuals (particularly celebrities) creating children’s books. The result: a patriotic parody of saccharine, over-earnest picture books. Colbert’s deadpan humor traipses into the tactless as he riffs on singsong verse (“I maypoled for a month,/ Learning pagans aren’t my type.../ I didn’t cut it as a totem—/ Me no smoke-um the peace pipe”), and the digital illustrations, unskilled by design, mock amateurish art. Pole’s pursuits underscore that Colbert’s adult fans will be the book’s primary audience—like Go the F**k to Sleep, this is a not-for-children “children’s book” (Pole considers becoming a “Gallup poll” and interns as a stripper pole before becoming an American flagpole). Still, Colbert affirms his place as a master of the kind of satire that, if you aren’t paying attention, you might just miss is a joke. Agent: Dan Strone, Trident Media Group. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
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