Non-fiction books have come a long way since the days of dull, dry, illustration-free text of my childhood. Caldecott Medal-winner So You Want to Be President is a prime example. Filled with the bright, cartoon-like illustrations that won it the Caldecott, this book is perfect for the budding politician. It discusses everything about being President from the good (Presidents don’t have to take out the garbage!) and the bad (lots of homework!) to what you should be named (statistically, you’d do well to be a James, John or William). It examines the birthplaces of former heads-of-state, their girth and personalities, their families and their pets. On a more serious note, it discusses various presidential actions (like the founding of the Peace Corps and soup kitchens, the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, and a few scandals) and talks about the prerequisites of the job and how some might have been better at it than others.
The Presidents are not arranged chronologically so it wouldn’t be a book to use as a history lesson, but instead categorizes them according to a topic (who was born in a log cabin, who had a large family, etc) and not every Commander-in-Chief is mentioned in the text. However, at the end of the book is a more formal timeline that can be used for reference. Ultimately, the book is provides a new way to spark an interest in the goings-on of the Oval Office. This book is really for the younger set—my 5 year old loves all the random facts—so it’s recommended for the K-2nd grader.
Because the book was published in 2000, it is of course outdated, ending with the Presidency of Bill Clinton. There is an updated 2004 edition, however, which should cover the rest.
Posted by: Cindy