Themed Reviews

The White House

   The White House is the residence of the President of the United States of America and his (possibly her) family. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington DC, The White House has been the scene of a variety of historical events and many different family configurations have lived there. This feature salutes the building that is recognizable the world around as a seat of American political strength.

   We have included a wealth of informative books as well as some interesting fiction with The White House appearing as a featured "character" We are also featuring a special anthology from Candlewick Press, Our White House: Looking in Looking Out (with an introduction by David McCullough), which has been created by 108 well known authors and illustrators and The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance. This amazing book includes writings and illustrations from Pulitzer Prize winners, Newbery Medal winners, Caldecott Medalists, Coretta Scott King Award winners as well as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. The list of contributors reads like the ultimate "Who's Who" of Children's and Young Adult literature.

   David McCullough's introduction is as eloquent as anything he has offered to adult readers, describing The White House as "the most important, the most famous, the most historic, the most beloved house in all the land,..." He reminds readers that the White House is filled with stories that range from "great moments of national celebration" to those of "... overwhelming sorrow." He writes of events that have taken place within its walls including: weddings, state banquets, grand balls, births, and deaths of "Presidents and the beloved of presidents, ..." He says "Ideas have been born there. Momentous decisions wise and foolish have been made there." The White House has had a tremendous influence on events both here in The United States as well as the rest of the world.

   The following selections are filled with White House history, stories, and trivia. As you make your own choices, keep in mind that The White House will have new residents as of Jan 2009, who will make their own mark on the fascinating building that is known as The White House.

   www.ourwhitehouse.org is a companion to the anthology, Our White House: Looking In Looking Out, designed as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, and community leaders.

   Other valuable information is available at www.whitehouse.org and fabulous pictures are featured at http://www.whitehousehistory.org/.

Contributor: Sheilah Egan

 

Reviews

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out
National Childrens Book and Literacy Alliance
   The National Childrens Book and Literacy Alliance is the sponsor of this anthology of brief essays and illustrations on the history of the White House created by 108 of its members. There are some big names attached: David McCullough offers the Introduction; David Macaulay has designed the cover art; M. T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Susan Cooper, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire, Katherine Paterson, Richard Peck and Peter Sisamong many othersall contribute to this chronological history of the building, which along the way also tells the broader history of the United States. It is an impressive packageif only judged by its weight, which is more than a handful! Fortunately, the book is also thoughtfully and richly designed. The heavy glossy paper and excellent color reproduction does justice to the many illustration styles, and much of the contentfrom the memoir of Paul Jennings, a former slave, to Katherine Patersons essay on the history of the press corps, to Steven Kelloggs humorous thoughts and illustrated timeline of presidential petsis pertinent, very readable, and a nice mix of information and fun. The end result is a handsome volume that families can and will dip into over and over again.
2008, Candlewick Press, Ages 8 up, $29.99.
REVIEWER: Kathleen Karr
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2067-7

Other Selected Reviews

Dolley Madison Saves George Washington
Don Brown
   In this light-hearted look at a piece of American history, Dolley Madison goes from charming hostess and dazzling First Lady to heroine during the War of 1812. When the British approach the White House, Dolley rescues not only important papers but also the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington. The city of Washington burns; Dolley escapes to the countryside. After the war, Dolley and the portrait both return to the White House. Pen-and-ink and transparent watercolors with digital manipulation produce the settings and the characters while telling the visual story parallel to the simple text. Emotions are generated more by the drawings than the colors. The double-page scene of the flight as Washington burns in the distance shows a group of people with hanging heads and drooping postures, up to even the horse dragging the wagon. Muted colors dominate the clothing and the barren landscape. A reproduction of the familiar Stuart portrait is included as an expanded visual footnote, as are notes on the portrait, the history, and a bibliography. 2007, Houghton Mifflin Company, $16.00. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).

   When it became apparent that the invading British would overtake the White House during the War of 1812, Dolley Madison had the presence of mind to take valuable papers and the Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington, thus preserving it for future generations. Brown begins this tale of bravery by describing Dolley as an ordinary person who had a flair for entertaining. She was the White House hostess for President Jefferson, and then for her own husband, President Madison. Brown's smooth storytelling, combined with his drawings, presents many facts about the war, the First Lady, the Founding Fathers, the importance of this particular painting, and the origins of the American National Anthem in such a way that the reader is anxious to turn the page to find out what happened next. Brown's pen and ink, watercolor, and digitally created illustrations present Dolley in her trademark turbans, show the painting in the White House, and create the atmosphere and societal effects of the war. The double-page illustration of King George squaring off with Uncle Sam brilliantly captures the main issues of the war. It lends itself nicely to discussions of what it means to be brave, women's studies, art history, and the War of 1812. It is a fine choice to introduce this time period to high school American history classes, too. An author's note and a bibliography are included in the back of this entertaining and informative picture book. 2007, Houghton Mifflin, $16.00. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-618-41199-3
ISBN: 0-618-41199-2

First Daughter: White House Rules
Mitali Perkins
   This sequel to First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover places Republican President and Mrs. Righton and their sixteen-year-old daughter Sameera (nicknamed Sparrow and adopted from Pakistan) in the White House. That in itself in terms of fictional roles is quite an achievement. For a South Asian character to break with long-standing patterns in YA fiction of oppression, resentment, and otherness, and take her place squarely in a position of privilege is most refreshing. Precocious and smart, Sameera, settles into the White House with her visiting cousin Miranda ("Ran"). They watch movies in the big-screen theater and exercise Jingle, the golden retriever on loan from their grandparents' farm. But all is not perfect in this charmingly make-believe world. Sameera is in love--with Indian-American G-Dub student Bobby Ghosh, whose family is Hindu (although he himself is "still...seeking") and whose grandfather, dying in India, seems sure to disapprove terribly of his dating someone who is probably of Muslim ancestry. The cousin from Ohio, Miranda, longs to be in films but has to find ways to make some money. And there is the matter of which school in the District of Columbia the First Daughter will attend. Such everyday matters take on a new twist simply from the context and setting. Perkins has blurred the boundaries between fiction and reality in characteristically postmodern fashion by creating an Internet blog for Sameera, (http://www.sparrowblog.com) on which political realities and fictions both find space. First Daughter: White House Rules is a romp through the halls of power that manages to leave its youthful protagonist hopeful, cheerful, and filled with loving kindness. It is all good clean fun, a little tongue in cheek in places. Sameera plays cupid in her spare time, and sly asides include a bilingual joke in the name of the family dairy farm. Sameera's continuing tale carries on fixing the real world's problems of race and inequity with a dash of sentimental poetry and a generous endowment of incurable optimism. 2008, Dutton/Penguin, $16.99. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-525-47951-2
ISBN: 0-525-47951-1

The Ghost, the White House, and Me
Judith St. George
   Nobody could be in a better position to write a White House ghost story than Judith St. George, author of So You Want to Be President?. Here she serves up a light but tasty tale of a determined presidential daughter (and aspiring mystery writer) who wants to spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom to see if it is indeed haunted. When Mom (a.k.a. Madame President) refuses to let Kay-Kay have this privilege, instead dispensing it to Uncle Matt, Kay-Kay and her younger sister decide to play a practical joke on Uncle Matt by staging a ghostly visitation. The scheme predictably backfires with comic, pleasurably scary, and ultimately heart-warming results. Aside from one unnecessary and problematic element (it's jarringly implausible to see brilliant classmate Borden, a voracious reader who devours medical journal articles and tomes of presidential lore, suddenly revealed as struggling with dyslexia), the story is pure fun. St. George indulges every reader's fantasy of what it would be like to live in the White House, detailing the private bowling alley and swimming pool, the personal chef, and accommodating Secret Service agents as she crafts a light-hearted and enjoyable story starring the two First Daughters of the first woman President. 2007, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2045-2
ISBN: 0-8234-2045-0

The Great White House Breakout
Helen Thomas
Illustrated by Chip Bok
   We may not have a woman president yet, but in this story young Sam lives in the White House when his mother becomes president, and his dad is "First Guy." Sam and his friends Warren, the cat and Leonard, an ex-lab rat from NASA, can't have much fun with "those guys with the phone cords in their ears" always listening to them, he tells us. They decide to break out. Their hilarious adventures not only include an exploration of the White House, but a tour of DC highlights like the Spy Museum, the Air and Space and Natural History Museums, the Tidal Basin, and the Lincoln Memorial. There they curl up on "a nice man's lap" to sleep, while headlines announce the frantic search for the missing Sam. When they wake up, Sam decides to go home. Their flight on a kite crashes, but they are rescued for a happy ending. Bok's colored drawings are comic and cartoon-y in both their design and the frenetic action that dominates most scenes. Odd signs and speech balloons add to the fun. It's a new and unusual Washington DC travelogue along with an amusing romp. This is an unexpected story from the Dean of the White House Press Corps. 2008, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Young Readers Group, Ages 6 to 9, $16.99. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz FORMAT: Picture Book
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3300-8

Have Fun with the Presidents: Activities, Projects, and Fascinating Facts
David C. King
   Each of the forty three United States presidents is briefly profiled in this book. In addition, the two or three pages devoted to each chief executive include sidebars on their families and additional sidebars on topics ranging from how to address the president, to a description of Grant's Tomb, to the fact that Calvin Coolidge rode a mechanical horse which he had installed in the White House. The book also presents detailed instructions for recipes some of the presidents enjoyed: John Quincy Adams's wife Louisa's Shrewsbury cakes, Andrew Jackson's blackberry jam, Andrew Johnson's pecan pie, Dwight David Eisenhower's prune or apricot whip, John F. Kennedy's Cape Cod fish chowder, and many others. In addition, there are word games and puzzles created to emphasize facts about various presidents, and there are other activities based on maps, Morse code, battlefield strategies, and election results. Finally, directions for crafts appear in nearly every section--ranging from making a replica of Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat, to decorating Easter eggs in honor of Rutherford B. Hayes's wife's decision to host the Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn, to creating a victory garden planter in honor of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's encouraging people to grow their own fruits and vegetables during World War II. The book is illustrated with line drawings of all the presidents and of the crafts and puzzles. 2007, Jossey-Bass/Wiley, $14.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-4716-7905-9
ISBN: 0-4716-7905-4

If I Ran for President
Catherine Stier
Illustrated by Lynne Avril
   As the presidential elections approach in the United States, this timely book invites the child to imagine himself or herself as a presidential candidate. It is the job of leading the country, and he or she must consider if they are ready to tackle it. Step-by-step, the child follows his peers (girls and boys of multi-ethnic backgrounds) from the moment they make their announcement to run, to campaigns, participation in primaries, debates with other presidential contenders, party conventions, and Election Day. It provides succinct explanations of the voting process, the popular vote versus the electoral vote, and political parties. The book provides a child's view of the hard work involved in campaigning and debating key issues, but also the fun of meeting people from all over the United States. The imaginative and informative illustrations complement the straightforward narrative. This book would make an excellent contribution to a social studies class leading to further discussion of the democratic process. 2007, Albert Whitman and Company, $15.95. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Lilliam Oliva Collmann (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-8075-3543-1
ISBN: 0-8075-3543-5

If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House
Jane O'Connor
Illustrated by Gary Hovland
   With a focus on each Presidential Family's time and contribution to the physical White House, this book dispenses some light but interesting information. Presented in chronological order we start with George Washington, the only president who never lived in the White House. From Washington's plans for a presidential home we travel through each president and his family, with a paragraph provided for each describing a detail about changes made to the building or presidents' White House firsts: first child born in the White House, first White House wedding, first White House telephone, etc. A two-page spread at the end of the book has each president answering a question, e.g. "President Hayes, how many people make phone calls to the White House?" Answer--about 5,000 a day. While the total content is minimal, the information is interesting and shows the presidents and their families as real people as well as historical figures. Hovland has produced illustrations that are chock-full and eye appealing. While the content is light, it is perfect for the browsing reader or paired with Judith St. George's So You Want to Be President or Cheryl Harness's Ghosts of the White House. A worthy purchase for libraries. 2004, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Sharon Oliver (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-689-86863-4
ISBN: 978-0-689-86863-4

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out
National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance
   The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance is the sponsor of this anthology of brief essays and illustrations on the history of the White House created by 108 of its members. There are some big names attached: David McCullough offers the Introduction; David Macaulay has designed the cover art; M. T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Susan Cooper, Steven Kellogg, Gregory Maguire, Katherine Paterson, Richard Peck and Peter Sis—among many others—all contribute to this chronological history of the building, which along the way also tells the broader history of the United States. It is an impressive package—if only judged by its weight, which is more than a handful! Fortunately, the book is also thoughtfully and richly designed. The heavy glossy paper and excellent color reproduction does justice to the many illustration styles, and much of the content—from the memoir of Paul Jennings, a former slave, to Katherine Paterson's essay on the history of the press corps, to Steven Kellogg's humorous thoughts and illustrated timeline of presidential pets—is pertinent, very readable, and a nice mix of information and fun. The end result is a handsome volume that families can and will dip into over and over again. 2008, Candlewick Press, $29.99, Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2067-7

President Adams' Alligator: And Other White House Pets
Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes
Edited by Betty Shepard and Lisa Pinnell
   Bears in the White House? Over the years our nation's first families have enjoyed animal companions great, small and extremely unique. President Adams' Alligator and Other White House Pets gives the scoop on these furred and feathered buddies, from Thomas Jefferson's two grizzly bears to Caroline Kennedy's pony named Macaroni. Our first president, George Washington, had hunting dogs named Madame Moose, Sweetlips and Tipsy. The Father of our Country was also concerned about equine dental hygiene and made sure all his horses had regular brushings to ensure healthy choppers. With this charming picture book, Peter and Cheryl Barnes, a local (Metropolitian DC) husband-and-wife writing/illustrating team, have created a lively addition to their oeuvre of children's books exploring American history and government. 2003, VSP Books, $16.95. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature).

   The children in Mrs. Tucker's elementary class are learning about all the pets, including a number of very unusual animals that resided in the White House as companions of the U.S. Presidents. Yes, our commanders-in-chief had very interesting pets, including snakes, raccoons, bears, cows, mice, and goats. The star of the book is the alligator that was once given to President John Quincy Adams by a man called General Lafayette. President Adams' alligator is hidden in each and every illustration in the book, ready to be discovered by the young reader. The wonderful, detailed watercolor illustrations cover the entire page surrounding the entertaining, fact-filled text which blends in nicely with the pictures. At the end of the story, the students in Mrs. Tucker's class vote for their favorite presidential pet and a blank space, provided on the last page, invites the reader to add his or her personal vote. A fun-filled, delightfully-educational book with amazing illustrations that would be an invaluable addition to any library, school or home. 2003, VSP Books, $16.95. Ages 6 to 12. Reviewer: Ute Krappen-Clancy (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 1-89362-213-4
ISBN: 978-1-89362-213-5

The President's House: 1800 to the Present: The Secrets and History of the World's Most Famous Home
Margaret Truman
   As the daughter of a former president, Margaret Truman has a special insight into the history and secrets of the White House, where she spent almost eight years. Through her brief anecdotal book, Truman, who is also a popular mystery writer, portrays the people and environment of the presidential home. From the days of the second president, John Adams, to the present incumbent, George W. Bush, the White House has undergone numerous physical changes, most drastically the burning of the building during the War of 1812. Slowly rebuilt and finally completed in 1830, the building's popular name was reinforced by the replacement of whitewash with more permanent white lead paint. Truman carefully describes the many rooms in the building, including the private family quarters. The workings of the West Wing and the many international leaders who have visited and been hosted by the president are also detailed. Even stories about White House pets are included. There are moments of sadness as illness and death, even assassination, overtake First Family members. However, Truman also describes the glitter of White House weddings, grand state dinners with notables from all over the world, and the children and young adults who called the place home. Each chapter in this special YA edition includes questions for discussion, making this personal history and tour of the White House accessible to a wide range of readers. Category: History, Geography. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Random House, Ballantine, 271p. illus. index., $7.95. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Gerrity (KLIATT Review, July 2005 (Vol. 39, No. 4)).
ISBN: 0-345-47248-9
ISBN: 978-0-345-47248-9

Wackiest White House Pets
Gibbs Davis
Illustrated by David A. Johnson
   Who says history has to be dry? Children and pets have a natural affinity for one another which will make this delightfully informative book a hit. Beginning with its great cover depicting President John Quincy Adams fleeing the jaws of an alligator, readers will know they are in for a fascinating treat. Dogs and horses, cows and sheep are here, but so too are silkworms, mice, and a raccoon, to name but a few. The chronological presentation offers a subtle history lesson. Each double-page spread provides insight into the personality of the president and some important facts about his presidency. The humorous tone of the caricatures works well with the chatty tone of the text. Each president is listed in the back of the book with his dates in office, nickname, some interesting facts, and, of course, his family pets. The bibliography will be very useful for further research on the presidents. Each chapter is titled ("Most Talkative," "Biggest Ears," "Most Suspicious," etc.) and could be used as a game to get students into the book. Great to use around the Presidents' Day holiday, when studying the presidents, or simply for browsing. 2004, Scholastic Press, $16.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-439-44373-9

Washington Is Burning
Marty Rhodes Figley
Illustrations by Craig Orback
   This book recounts a major event of the War of 1812 from the point of view of teenage African American slave Paul Jennings, a personal servant to President James Madison and First Lady Dolley Madison. The story tells of his experiences from late August to mid-September 1814, climaxing on August 24, when the White House was evacuated and the British set fire to the city of Washington. The book does not try to do an overview of the entire war, though it does offer simple background information. Instead, this book brings one important episode vividly to life, in language children can read themselves. The text includes Paul's observations of the White House interior, details of his domestic chores, and eventually descriptions of his efforts and Dolley Madison's efforts to save various items from the house, including the portrait of George Washington and the White House silver. An "Afterword" includes fascinating information about the life of Paul Jennings, a real historical figure who gained his freedom as an adult and wrote a memoir of life with the Madisons. The book combines his account with accounts of the same events recorded by Dolley Madison and another White House servant. Students may be confused at some points by references to the first lady as "Dolley" and "Mrs. Madison" on the same page. An editorial choice was made to start each sentence flush with the page margin instead of using indents and paragraphs; sentences are short and easy to understand. Engaging illustrations dramatize and complement the text. The title is part of the "On My Own" series of history books from this publisher. 2006, Millbrook Press, $23.93. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer: J. H. Diehl (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 1-5750-5875-8
ISBN: 978-1-5750-5875-7

What to do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy!
Barbara Kerley
Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
   This successful melding of text and pictures showcases the life of Teddy Roosevelt's irrepressible daughter, Alice. From her earliest years, independent-minded Alice defied convention and did what she liked. Her exasperated father famously said, "I can be president of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both." The illustrations perfectly capture an exuberant Alice as she flies down the White House stairs with her brothers and sisters, greets visitors with her pet snake, and dashes around Washington in her jazzy car. A subdued palette with touches of red highlights the vitality of the subject matter. Large cartoon-like images of Teddy and Alice effectively convey their larger-than-life personalities. The contrast between her famous father's heroic accomplishments and his helpless inability to control his daughter provides lots of humor. While Teddy was clearly flummoxed by his strong-willed daughter, his love for her and appreciation of her adventurous spirit and goodwill efforts during his presidency come through as well. Alice's antics will have plenty of child appeal. The book does an excellent job of conveying a lot of history in an entertaining way as it illuminates the life and personality of one of America's icons. Highly Recommended. 2008, Scholastic, Inc, 48pp., $16.99 hc.. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Quinby Frank (Library Media Connection, February 2008).
ISBN: 978-0-439-92231-9
ISBN: 0-439-92231-3

The White House
Mary Firestone
Illustrated by Matthew Skeens
   Not many children get to live in the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but all youngsters can learn about this important home of the President of the United States when they pick up this informative book. Short, readable sections impart information that includes how George Washington chose land for the first home of the president, how an Irish designer came up with the best plans for the house, the first family to live there, what happened to the White House during wartime, and more. Simple concise sidebars add extra facts to the text. Basic vocabulary words in the book, such as democracy and leadership, are easy to understand in context. Like the other books in the "American Symbols" series, this one contains free-flowing computerized illustrations that may cause children to take a second and third look to see all they contain. This book offers a simple solution to letting many children "see" inside the White House without actually going there. Use it to enrich history lessons for early grades and students will retain the information when they reach middle grades. 2006, Picture Window Books, $23.95. Ages 5 to 7. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-1-4048-2217-7
ISBN: 1-4048-2217-8
ISBN: 978-1-4048-2223-8
ISBN: 1-4048-2223-2

The White House
Debra Hess
   Imagine having one million people visit your house each year. Although it may seem too crowded for your house, the President of the United States has plenty of rooms in his house--better known as the White House. This unique building not only serves as a symbol for the American presidency, but also provides a home for the president. Designed by architect James Hoban in 1792, the White House has seen many periods of construction and work. The first president to live here, John Adams, moved into a home that wasn't quite finished. President Andrew Jackson spent the night away from the White House after boisterous crowds trampled through the rooms on the evening of his Inauguration. Through the years, the White House has survived fire, unstable walls and ever-changing leadership while remaining one of the most widely recognized symbols of our country's freedoms and ideals. Combining readable text with insider photographs, Hess takes readers on a tour of this famous building while providing fun facts and stories along the way. 2003, Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish, $17.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Leah Hanson (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-7614-1712-5
ISBN: 978-0-7614-1712-5

The White House
Joanne Mattern
   The history of the White House is given in the following chapters: "An Introduction to Our Nation's House," "Planning the White House," "Improvements--and Disaster," "Rebuilding," and "Starting Over." There is also a "Notes" section with cited quotes, then "Chronology & Glossary" and "For More Information" sections, followed by an extensive "Index." The "About the Author" rounds out this enormous amount of information. There is a mixture of color and black-and-white pictures and diagrams are used to help with identifying citations in the text. Inserts--"James Hoban," "The White House Grounds," and "Recreation at the White House"--seem to disturb the regular text flow. One is bombarded with information and unless the child/young person is extremely interested in the subject or assigned the topic, it seems to be too much for most young readers. There is an attractive cover and the other titles in the series are listed on the back. This book is part of the "Building World Landmarks" series that includes the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the Arc de Triomphe, the Berlin Wall, the Globe Theater and the Louvre. This series deals with the "most ambitious design and engineering projects of the past century that have gained almost instant notoriety." Considering these symbols perhaps we can say that the book is not for everyone. 2006, Blackbirch Press/Thomson Gale, $23.70. Ages 9 to 13. Reviewer: Naomi Butler (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 1-4103-0561-9
ISBN: 978-1-4103-0561-9

White House Q & A
Rinaldo, Denise
   The cover, with its insets and "headlines," tells us that this book is packed with information about all aspects of the White House, including "Historical questions! Presidential Answers!," "Home Sweet White House!," and "Meet a Historian." It even promises: "Web Links Take You Inside the Smithsonian!" The sharp, clear photographs are accompanied by illustrations and insets of information and special interest items. The table of contents lists the questions that are covered in this book, from "What is the White House?," "How has the White House changed?," and "Who takes care of the White House?" to "Where does the first family live?," "How do first families relax?," and "Are pets allowed in the White House?" Factoids, details and tidbits appear as insets which are incorporated into the text without distracting from the body of information being presented in each section. During John Adams' term, only six of the thirty-six rooms were finished and the East Room was used to hang laundry. (How times change! It is currently one of the most highly-decorated rooms.) Covering everything from how the food is prepared to how a turkey is "spared" every Thanksgiving, this title is very inclusive in its coverage of White House topics. The scope is broad and appealing as we see the youngsters living in the White House in their daily life and even get a peek into their private quarters. The "What happens when you write to the White House?" page includes the address so that "when you write to the White House, your letter becomes part of history!" Backmatter includes a glossary, a lot of websites and books, "Meet the Curator," and an index. This would definitely be a first choice for any library building its non-fiction collection, as it is a perfect fit for students doing research on the White House. 2008, HarperCollins, $16.99. Ages 6 to 12. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-06-089965-3
ISBN: 978-0-06-089966-0
ISBN: 0-06-089965-4
ISBN: 0-06-089966-2

The White House
Debbie L. Yanuck
Consultant Melodie Andrews
   According to the publisher, "The American Symbols" series explores the places and things that symbolize freedom and democracy in the United States and it explores and supports standards under "The History of the United States," as required by the National Center for History in the Schools. The books follow a good pattern. There is a table of contents, a fast facts page, the text and a timeline, a hands-on activity, words to know with a pronunciation guide and a listing of books and web sites. The publisher actually has set it up so that kids can go to their site and type in the ISBN number, title or keyword from the book and the "Fact Hound" will bring back appropriate information. When I tried that for this book, eight sites came up including one from The White House Historical Association, Eleanor Roosevelt's Tour of the White House, the Official White House site and lots more. The White House was not home to the first U S President--John Adams our second President and his wife were its first occupants. The book gives a brief run down on major changes and has a great picture of the State Dining Room. More than one million people visit the White House annually and they can see some of the rooms. The book is well laid out with just enough facts to hold kids attention. Each colorful spread has a photograph or reproduction showing the various parts of the house and events held there like the Easter Egg Roll. A useful and informative book for classrooms and libraries, even without the web links. 2003, Capstone, $18.60. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-7368-1633-X
ISBN: 978-0-7368-1633-5

Woodrow, the White House Mouse
Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes
   Woodrow G. Washingtail, the newly elected President of the United Mice of America, and his First Lady Bess arrive for the beautiful, splendid inaugural ball. As they work and play, Woodrow and his family show us the nation's most famous house, the White House. Cheery verses and adorable illustrations abound, as husband and wife author/illustrators Peter and Cheryl Barnes teach about our nation's executive branch and its chief executive--ranging from working with Congress and Heads of States to the annual Easter egg roll. Many darling, detailed illustrations recreate actual furnishings and decorations of famous rooms. Included in the book are amusing historical facts and notes. The vote is in; this book will be enjoyed by tourists of all ages. 1998, VSP Books, $15.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Dia L. Michels (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-96376-889-1
ISBN: 978-0-96376-889-6

 

Added 08/13/08

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