Like an orange potato with arms, legs, and windblown blond hair—and, of course, a big mouth—Americus trumpus is explicated for a putative child audience.
Like Go the Fuck to Sleep before it, this is no “child’s first book,” despite the format. Yes, it rhymes, and yes, it has pictures, but this is full-on political satire that’s about as subtle as, well, its subject. Black (Navel Gazing, 2016, etc.) adopts Seussian rhythms to describe “this strange beast you keep hearing about,” while Rosenthal likewise emulates the good doctor’s palette and line. “The beasty is called an American Trump. / Its skin is bright orange, its figure is plump; / Its fur so complex, you might get enveloped. / Its hands are, sadly, underdeveloped.” Here the white-coated professorial narrator points to a labeled diagram. And so the book goes, plucking almost every possible piece of low-hanging fruit. A Trump loves cameras; it eats cash. “I’ve won each and every game that I’ve played,” it declares, clutching an Oscar statuette, a taco-eating trophy, and a first-grade attendance trophy. There are debate victories and the wall, paid for “using another’s dinero.” Rather oddly, the book counsels readers to defeat the Trump not by going to the polls (or encouraging their parents to) but by turning off the TV, for “ignoring a Trump is a Trump’s biggest fear.” There are certainly chuckles to be had in this book for readers of the blue persuasion, and it’s probably no coincidence that Rosenthal depicts most humans as various shades of blue. Except for the wall, however, Trump's racism is entirely absent, and none of those blue figures, even those seeking refuge at the Canadian border at book's end, is wearing a headscarf or otherwise obviously Muslim. In the end, this is something of a one-joke pony that can’t compare to its inspiration’s seemingly endless capacity for self-parody and doesn't go nearly as far as it could or he does.
Just about as ephemeral as a Trump’s noxious emissions.