TheDC Book Review: The Tea Party Coloring Book

Jeff Winkler Contributor
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Just before the weekend, Wayne Bell, founder and CEO of Really Big Coloring Books sent out an e-mail announcing that the company’s Tea Party Coloring Book For Kids reached the bestseller lists in both England and the U.S.

It’s some good news for Bell, who received more attention than he bargained for when it was first discovered there was actually a Tea Party coloring book. Just about everyone took pot shots at it, including Wonkette, which wrote almost 300 words of nonsense.

Speaking to The Daily Caller, Bell had said he and the company had gotten numerous threats as well as calls from curious reporters whose first question was something like, “Why do you hate America?”

But TheDC loves America, which is why it purchased several copies of the Tea Party Coloring Book and set down to do a proper book review.

The original idea was to have the youngins of both TheDC staffers as well as other media outlets color the book and provide a nuanced and thorough review. But one father at TheDC refused the invitation for his young son, as did fairly new father and editor of Reason magazine, Matt Welch. TheDC thought this might have something to do with the fact that it had asked to “borrow the children for just a little while.”

Welch, responding via e-mail, said “I think people who mix overt politics and children’s books should be forced to [expletive] in a stall next to [politician’s name redacted], rub tanning goo on [another politician’s name redacted]’s dewlaps, and then strapped to the chair for 20 consecutive performances by [too embarrassing]. That oughtta do the trick.”

But does the Tea Party coloring book actually mix politics with its children? If so, is it more propaganda or party favor? It seems no one’s really given this coloring book a fair shake. So with a box of 15 1/2 crayons ( half the red one was eaten because it tastes like cherry-flavored skittles), TheDC decided to review the TPCB.

Bell had said that the company created a “coloring and activity book” for Obama after he became president, and it certainly shows. There are several illustrations from the Obama book reproduced in the TPCB, with only minor differences made to fit the theme. For instance, there’s a similar maze in the President Obama book, and … actually, it might be the exact same maze, except Obama’s says “Find your way to The Presidential Seal!” at the top.

The TPCB’s maze, however, seems rather political (or maybe just a bit too cynical for small children). Washington is a maze, and of course, Tea Partiers hate all the red tape we have to walk around in our political lives. That’s why Tea Partiers think the best way is to blaze your own trail in life. Much as  it was done below:

There’s quite a bit of explaining in the TPCB. The coloring book has more than a 1000 words, most of which are meant to explain the Tea Party to children whose political concentration probably doesn’t extend past the word “Freedom.” The TPCB, in fact, explains the Tea Party’s position on number of issues with a precision that’s incredibly Palin-like in style and specificity.

Self Reliant Energy — “The Tea Party want to spend money with people that are friends of America and keep our money out of the hands of bad people. The Government can help the people by reducing road blocks to new energy sources and help by creating new ways to provide energy.”

Taxes — “A tax is a sum of money demanded form our government that all people will pay … Taxes can also be a burden. When taxes are too high, the high tax takes away jobs and freedom.”

Health Care and Free Market economics — “The Tea Party wants a system of health care that is open and affordable to all people in a free market system that is not restricted by federal or state governments … The freedom of choice and freedom to work where you want, provides individual liberty for you and makes us safe.”

So while the TPCB never explicitly blames any particular politician, it’s not hard to see where they’re going with all this explaining, especially with the not-so-subtle picture below. It only takes a little red & brown crayon to give this girl a facelift. Suddenly, it’s pretty clear whom the TPCP is targeting:

The TPCB doesn’t just keep kids smiling, it also keeps them learning. The book is chock-full of American history, government and geography lessons. If your a child like Jonathan Krohn, then the map below is prime real estate for election day prediction. The visual below was TheDC’s attempt at answer one of the numerous trick-questions in the coloring book. Blue indicates where Obama has successfully campaigned for his party this election season. Black indicates the area every American wishes would become the Gulf of Nevada.

After the good, long lecture in Tea Party politics, the TPCB finally lets kids stretch their imagination in the back section. There are whole pages in the end of the book that finally give the “coloring” and “drawing” back to the children.

In the “Get Creative” section, little whipper-snappers can draw their own Tea Party flyer and draw “what you would like to be when you grow up” (TheDC’s portrait of H.L. Mencken ended up looking like an elephant dying slowly of  leprosy).

The most useful of these “Get Creative” pages has to be the “draw the front [and back] of a rally sign!” It goes without say this is a Tea Party rally sign. But no mind. Liberty and freedom are always age-appropriate. Case in point, jump rope!:

Many Tea Party children are huge fans of the Nazi-hating Dr. Seuss, too, nevermind his other politics.

So is the Tea Party coloring book a subversive plot to turn children into racist, government-hating, rednecks who think they can run the government as well as the local PTA? Wayne Bell would say “absolutely not.” Wonkette and other haters would say “isn’t it obvious?”

Either way, Welch and the TheDC fathers probably had the right idea when they refused to let their children near the coloring book. It’s hard to tell exactly for whom this publication is geared toward. The front cover says “For the Coloring Ages,” but it’s difficult to imagine a six-year-old grasping the basic principles of a mixed economy or the concept of congressional pork (although the illustration of two sloppy pigs rolling around in their own filth is there!).

That said, the TPCB has some good lessons: “Spend Less! Save More!” and “How a Bill Becomes a Law in 6 Steps.” It also asks kids to sit back, take a deep breath and reflect. And that’s something every American should do: