First Pooch: The Obamas Pick a Pet
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First Pooch: The Obamas Pick a Pet

by Carole Boston Weatherford, Amy Bates
     
 

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Throughout their father’s twenty-two month campaign for president, Malia and Sasha Obama begged their parents for a dog. Finally, when their father became the 44th president of the United States, he rewarded their patience and good behavior in his victory speech: “Malia and Sasha will get their new puppy.” Would the girls choose a Foxhound like…  See more details below

Overview

Throughout their father’s twenty-two month campaign for president, Malia and Sasha Obama begged their parents for a dog. Finally, when their father became the 44th president of the United States, he rewarded their patience and good behavior in his victory speech: “Malia and Sasha will get their new puppy.” Would the girls choose a Foxhound like President George Washington’s? Or a chocolate Labrador Retriever like the Clintons’? Maybe a shelter dog? Finally, on February 25, 2009, they decided to look for a Portuguese Water Dog to move into the White House. Art rendered in watercolor, gouache, and pencil.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After citing previous presidential promises, such as when Kennedy promised to land a man on the moon, Weatherford (Racing Against the Odds) moves on to Barack Obama's promise to his daughters that they can get a puppy. While their father campaigned, Malia and Sasha “wore curls and party dresses to join their parents onstage” and “put up with Secret Service agents always on their heels,” believing, the author muses, “it was worth it if they finally got their dog.” Building up to first dog Bo's arrival at the White House, the account spotlights several previous presidents' canines and imagines the process of deciding what kind of dog the family might choose. The story is curiously anticlimactic, providing scant info about Bo, who appears only on the final spread. Rendered in watercolor, pencil and gouache, Bates's (Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight) illustrations have a loose, sketchy quality, emphasizing the energetic nature of the various dogs that appear. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)
Booklist
This brief, lighthearted chronicle of the Obama family's search for a suitable puppy to fulfill candidate Obama's promise to his daughters focuses on Malia and Sasha. But it also brings in information about promises made by previous presidents, various breeds of dogs that lived in the White House, whimsical duties of a first dog ("negotiating treats," "guarding the Rose Garden against invasion"). The climax is the choice of an appropriate breed and the announcing of the name. The final page features very concise information about other White House pets. Lively watercolor, pencil, and gouache illustrations featuring a smiling Obama family happy in their endeavors, portraits of select past presidents, and a lineup of adorable potential first pooches add to the telling. Overall, a work that is certainly worthy of our first pooch. Use as a lead-in to works about possibly less known White House occupants such as Fala (First Dog Fala by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, 2008) and Alice Roosevelt (What to Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley, 2008).
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Clearly all the time that the Obamas were debating about what dog Sasha and Malia were going to get, Weatherford was busy creating a book that would celebrate the first pet. Most of the book is taken up with looking back at other presidential pets and spinning out the history of how the new President promised his daughters a pet. Several pages look at various breeds that were considered and list "jobs" the first dog would be expected to do such as meeting the presidential helicopter and fetching the first slippers. Bates' illustrations are as lively and upbeat as the text; she manages to show many different breeds before we get to virtually the last page of the book to discover that on April 14, 2009, the President's family welcomed a Portuguese Water Dog named Bo. All in all, this is not great literature but it does give a good sense of the Obamas as a family. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Weatherford makes the Bo Obama story fresh by keeping the focus on the First Family. Children see how Malia and Sasha worked hard to earn their pup by graciously tolerating the rigors of campaigning. They read about the various steps of the selection process, including the allergy dilemma. The media frenzy over which breed, then what name, is treated with good humor, as are the "duties" of the First Dog: meeting the presidential helicopter, fetching presidential slippers, negotiating treats, etc. The author completes the story by assuring readers that "pets everywhere have a voice in the White House. 'Woof! Woof!'" Bates's realistic illustrations in watercolor, pencil, and gouache pack in the fun. From the sisters' secret celebration behind the election-night podium, to a cozy dog-research session in a canopied bed, the illustrator keeps the youngsters' points of view at the forefront. Weatherford wraps up with a page about 11 other presidents' pets.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761456360
Publisher:
Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
11/01/2009
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
AD730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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