Tuesday, March 1, 2011

If The Walls Could Talk, by Jane O'Connor, and So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George

I know I am a little late for President's day, but here are two great informational picture books about the U.S. Presidents.

If The Walls Could Talk
Actually, this isn't technically about the presidents, It is about the White House. Each page talks about some aspect of life in the White House, like pets who lived there, or parties, weddings and baby's births, and then tells trivia about different presidents related to those topics. It is interesting to read and the pictures are amusing. The illustrator uses a style often used by political cartoonist. The president's heads are oversized in relation to their bodies, but are very recognizable caricatures.

So You Want to Be President
This was the 2001 Caldecott Medal winner. It is also arranged by topic. Each spread starts with, "If you want to be president..." and continues with statements like, "It would be good to be named James. 5 presidents had the first name James" etc. This one is really well written. It not only communicates facts about presidents, but challenges readers to think about the implications of the facts. For example, it says, "If you want to be president you don't have to be handsome. Some of our best presidents were the least handsome." (I am paraphrasing because I don't have the book in front of me.) The only problem with the book is that it is beginning to be outdated. Near the last spread it says, "No woman or African American has ever been president" which is now only half true.

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