“I Am a Pole (And So Can You),” Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert’s latest book, creates a new genre previously unexplored: adults-only children’s books. Written after an interview with the late Maurice Sendak, author of “Where the Wild Things Are,” Colbert’s ironically enchanting story tells the tale of a pole looking to find his place in the world.
A self-dubbed “Caldecott Eligible Book,” “I Am a Pole” offers patriotism, Seussian stanzas, President Obama and some amusing tongue-in-cheek undertones. As the pole tries different roles, desperately searching for his true calling, Colbert mixes the aforementioned verses with simply drawn characters in front of a multi-color gradient, often placing the characters, particularly the pole, in humorous situations.
Though written and produced in a manner highly reminiscent of many modern children’s authors, Colbert brings his own unique brand of humor to the scene with smoking and drug references, theories of evolution, canine urination and, perhaps the most scandalous, a scantily clad stripper, with a tattoo bearing Colbert’s initials, grinding on the main character.
Colbert says it best when describing the book as the “perfect gift to give a child or grandchild for their high school or college graduation.” At least it will be less clichCB) than the copy of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” nearly everyone has collecting dust somewhere.
In addition to the storyline, the book features packaging that enhances the humor of the narrative. With quotes from Maurice Sendak including “Terribly, supremely ordinary” and “The sad thing is, I like it!,” Colbert establishes the somewhat self-deprecating, but endearing, tone of the book. The inner jacket features a long list of planned sequels including “Pole Learns About Copyright Infringement,” as well as a teaser for “Pole the Movie,” set for release later this decade and a hopeful pickup by Pixar.
Colbert even includes a section where readers can “Show Us Your Pole,” intending for readers to draw or trace their pole with examples by the author and Sendak. As if it couldn’t get any better, each copy of the book features a child-like signature by Stephen Colbert, labeling each of these books as his property.
Written, illustrated, produced and distributed in less than four months, Colbert demonstrates his unusual knack for engaging the world outside his show and even helps those in need in the process. All proceeds from the book go to U.S. VETS, a nonprofit organization with the goal of reintegrating veterans into civilian life.
Regardless of the childlike nature of the book, “I Am a Pole” is certainly directed at Colbert’s fans, who will undoubtedly enjoy the humor typical of his late-night show and make this calculatingly bad book, ironically, a success.