Illustrator: Doogie Horner
Published by Quirk Books on October 28, 2014
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
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The kids who grew up to be president were like a lot of other children. Some struggled with schoolwork and got into fights; others pranked their teachers and infuriated their parents. William Howard Taft was forced to take dance lessons. Gerald Ford struggled with dyslexia. Teddy Roosevelt had a bedroom "museum" full of dead animals. "Kid Presidents" features 20 captivating true stories from the childhoods of American presidents, complete with lively text and more than 200 cartoon illustrations. Laugh-out-loud funny and packed with cool facts, it's the perfect read for all young future leaders of the free world.
When Kid Presidents arrived in the mail, I didn’t expect to share it with C. It’s geared for ages 9-12, and she’s only a kindergartner; I had planned to read through it and maybe save it for homeschooling use in a few years. But C saw the cover, got super excited, and immediately confiscated it. Seriously. I could not get it back until she was good and ready to give it up . . . and what parent is going to take a book out of a 5-year-old’s hands, right? She flipped through its pages, pointing out everything she saw, cackling away the whole time (Doogie Horner’s illustrations really are a lot of fun). We started reading the book that same night. It became the top-requested read-aloud in our house until we finished it a few weeks later. Sometimes she simply listened; other times she wanted to draw a picture as I read.
Kid Presidents is silly enough that kids stay engaged, and if C is a reliable test subject, the humor really helps them remember the content. Historical dates and context are presented gently, staying out of the way of the main focus: the challenges these kids overcame and the lessons they learned, and how that applied to their adult lives when they later became our presidents.
There is a list of all the presidents in order in the front of the book, and kid-friendly suggestions for further reading and a handy index at the end. You can read an excerpt online, and educators might want to check out the free educators’ guide and event kit.
A fun read for adults, too. 😉