Not quite sure what the Tea Party movement is all about? Grab your Crayolas and check out The Tea Party Coloring Book for Kids, just published by Really Big Coloring Books Inc. in St. Louis, MO.
anonymous/Really Big Coloring Books Inc
Bound with spiraling red plastic, the black-and-white letter-size pages depict the Statue of Liberty, the Founding Fathers, the American Flag and other national symbols. It features mazes, games and various kinds of puzzles — word-search, connect-the-dots and crossword. It retails for $3.59 online.
The book was "designed as a teaching and learning tool," according to the copyright page, which also explains that "the Tea Party Movement of Current Day is inspired by a protest that happened in Boston, Massachusetts in 1773."
The colorful cover shows kids selling lemonade in front of the White House. "Leadership, Freedom and Jobs" is written across the bottom.
This is just the latest in a long line of political coloring books – some straightforward, others not so much. A Richard Nixon coloring book, published in 1972, showed Nixon riding on a yellow elephant. Jimmy’s Coloring Book featured a smiling, toothy Jimmy Carter on a red, white, blue and yellow cover. There was also a Jimmy Carter and His Family Paper Dolls book. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Coloring Book all had coloring books.
In 2009 a Maryland couple published Going Rouge: The Sarah Palin Rogue Coloring & Activity Book. It featured Palin in a bikini and a page of lipsticks and pigs.
This is what people are saying about the Tea Party coloring book.
— The publisher: "A wonderful book of The Tea Party for Kids! Teaches children (and parents) about the origins of the Tea Party and what it involves. A very pleasant song, coloring and activity book on Liberty, Faith, Freedom and so much more! Get involved, participate, self reliance, freedom of choice, work, government-of-for-by the people, Leadership, Ingenuity, Jobs and Responsibility!"
— Joanne Cole of Boonville, NY, on the publisher's website: "Great idea! Thanks for creating a product that will help teach the REAL values of America to our children!"
— Time magazine’s Newsfeed blog: "NewsFeed understands wanting to teach children about how the world works, but couldn't children be spared the complications of political life—at least until they are ten or so?"
— CBS News' blog Political Hotsheet:" According to Wayne Bell, the publisher at Really Big Coloring Books Inc., the purpose of the book is not political.
" 'We're not really making a political statement,' he told Hotsheet, noting that his company publishes books on a range of topics, including the Rockettes and Cirque de Soleil. He stressed that the book did not include direct attacks on a political party and contains historical data and information on how a bill becomes a law.
"He also noted that his company makes an Obama coloring book, which, like the Tea Party book, is featured on the front page of the company's website."
— Culture Monster, a Los Angeles Times blog, observed: "Just in time for the November election, a small Midwest publisher has come up with … a coloring book merged with kiddie propaganda."
— A Tweet late last week from Paul Bogaards, publicity director at Alfred A. Knopf, pointed out that the coloring book was higher on the Amazon bestsellers list than many grown-up tomes, such as The Big Short by Michael Lewis. And that is a sign the book business is in trouble.
Asked to elaborate, Bogaards says:
"While it may say something about our industry — historically book publishing has had a bias to the left, but that has changed in the past decade, and there are now a number of publishers and imprints, both mainstream and boutique, catering to the whims and interests of the right — I'm afraid it says more about the State of our Union and the potential disaster facing democrats as the midterms approach.
"The popularity of this book, and (Bob) Woodward's book (Obama's Wars), and (Dinesh) D'Souza's book (The Roots of Obama's Rage) — and disregarding the veracity of any of these narratives — suggest that our country is as polarized as it has ever been. ... I suppose the good news here is that a book like this would have been hard pressed to find mainstream success a decade ago, so the playing field seems a little more level now, and charges of a liberal media bias, at least as regards book publishing, no longer carry much weight. In the marketplace of ideas, and in the economics of publishing, the left may have met its match in the far right."