So You Want to be President? by Judith St. George and published by Philomel Books, 2000 (revised and updated version, 2004), is perfect with the political conventions and presidential election just around the corner.

This book, illustrated by David Small, is a Caldecott winner and rightly so. His distinctive caricatures of different presidents leaves no guess work as to which is which. Humor filters through the text as well as the illustrations. Nixon is jumping up and down as he makes a strike while bowling. President Taft quips that his opponent lost his head when an onlooker throws a cabbage.

Facts are also interspersed such as six presidents were named James and Carter wanted to be called “Jimmie.” So is your name James, and would you like to become president? Or are you tall like Lincoln–six foot, four inches–or short like Madison–five feet, four inches and one hundred pounds? Taft weighed three hundred pounds and had a bath tub installed in the White House that was large enough for four men.

This continuous stream of facts is presented in an easy to read manner and is anything but boring. You will be amazed to find out that nine presidents didn’t go to college and two others were orphans.

In case you want to practice for when you become president, the oath of office is included. Maybe this might happen if you do your best. America is the land of the free and the land of opportunity. Go for it!

So You Want to Be  President? can be read independently by ages 8 and up. It would also be a fun read for families.

Carol Green, a graduate of Northwestern, is married and the mother of three adult children. Her five grandchildren affectionately call her “Grams cracker.”

She is the published author of many poems for both adults and children; three coloring books: God Gave Me Five, ABC Fun Book, and Color God’s World Bright; and the picture book: My Mom Loves Me.

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