Trump for Principal: A Children’s Book for American Grownups, Beth Schaefer (writing) and Hasby Mubarok (art), 50 pgs, Books on a Whim, booksonawhim.com, $28.67
Given that Trump is drawn to have a golden weasel for a hairpiece, nobody should be surprised as to which way the politics of Beth Schaefer and Hasby Mubarok’s book lean. A scathing political tract dressed up in cartoony colours, Trump for Principal has a lot to say. (It also must be noted: the weasel-hair is uncannily accurate.)
It’s time for Lincoln School’s beloved Principal Moss to retire, and second-grader Jewel can’t wait to meet the replacement. However, when that replacement turns out to be the never-actually-referred-to-by-
The star of the show here is Mubarok’s art: bright, whimsical, and spot-on in its skewering caricatures of Trump himself, the illustrations lend a lot to Schaefer’s text. Schaefer’s story is equal parts goofy and sad, and even with lines that are sometimes a touch too on-the-nose—like Jewel talking about no longer singing the Pledge of Allegiance under Principal Trump, saying “We don’t sing anymore, we obey”—it still manages to be an effective mockery of real-life Trump’s bluster and bravado.
Most interestingly, Schaefer left the writing of Trump’s dialogue up to Trump himself: all of Principal Trump’s lines are only slightly modified versions of actual quotes, for which Schaefer provides a reference at the end of the book. It’s a fittingly stark reminder that no matter how much of a circus Trump’s campaign might seem like, we can’t afford to laugh it off. (Kris Bone)