Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It doesn't take much for sixth-grader Judd Moon's best friend, Lane, to convince him that a kid rather than a grownup should lead the U.S. into the new millennium-and that Judd is just the boy for the job. Fast-talking Lane grabs the reigns as his pal's campaign manager and the intrepid duo quickly obtains the necessary signatures to get Judd on the ballot for the Presidential election of 2000 (the novel opens in 1999). Lining up a blue-eyed, blond classmate as his "First Babe" and a wise if cynical elderly African American woman as his running mate, Judd establishes the Lemonade Party (named for the commodity sold at his first fund-raiser) and promises to abolish all homework if his peers can convince their parents to vote for him. As the rookie politician's campaign takes off at a rollicking clip, readers will be caught up in the inventive absurdity of Gutman's (Taking Flight) plot. Despite the preposterous premise and the characters' endless stream of unrealistically clever quips and wisecracks, the author pulls off a feat as impressive as Judd's victory: he actually makes his hero a credible 12-year-old. This snappy, lighthearted farce will win kids' votes. Ages 9-13. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
"Hi! My name is Judson Moon. I'm 12-years-old and I'm running for President of the YOU-nited States." At first this seems like a prank but with the help of his shrewd campaign manager, Lane Brainard, they map out their strategy. The Kid Who Ran For President is a fast-paced satire on politics. Set in the year 2000, Judson says, "Grown-ups have had a thousand years to mess up the world. Now it's our turn." It may seem frivolous at times, but it's a sure-fire way to grab kids' attention and discuss the election process. Judson's running mate is his former babysitter, Mrs. June Syers, who is "old, black, and smart." She is one-of-a-kind and he needs her.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Dan Gutman gives a satirical, comedic view of politics in The Kid Who Ran for President. Judd is a sixth grader who's best friend, Lane, persuades him to run for office because he's got all it takes. ("You're tall. You've got good hair. People like you.") So begins the political career of a third party candidate and the first child to run for political office. As Judd explains to a reporter, "Grown-ups have had the last one thousand years to mess up the world. Now it's our turn."
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In this newest stage of Alice's journey to adulthood, the appealing heroine begins eighth grade with a million questions and few answers. Her health teacher, Mr. Everett, has assigned the members of the class various real-life scenarios to investigate and come to terms with. Some of Alice's friends are facing teenage pregnancy, shoplifting, totaling a car, and arranging a funeral. Alice and her friend Patrick are to plan their wedding, honeymoon, find an apartment, and buy furniture on a very limited budget. With her great sense of humor, Naylor once again captures the true turmoil of adolescence. The awkward feelings and questions about budding bodies and an awareness of the opposite sex are handled in a true-to-life but lighthearted and sensitive manner. Some questions go unanswered, but life will eventually fill in those blanks. Naylor obviously has fun exploring friendship, family, relationships, and even love. With all of these issues permeating the story, Alice and her friends are a little more serious than in previous titles, but readers will still find plenty to laugh at and cheer about. Alice in Lace leaves readers wanting to see where life will take Alice next but still hoping that she won't grow up too fast.-Tracey Kroll, Brookland Middle School, Richmond, VA
What happens if you get pregnant? What happens if you're caught shoplifting? How much does a wedding cost? Alice's eighth-grade health class is studying Critical Choices: investigating and role-playing "how the choices you make now can affect the rest of your life." The latest in Naylor's wonderful series about Alice is more didactic than usual: like Anne Fine's "Flour Babies" (1994), the story openly explores such issues as unplanned, unwanted pregnancy and how babies can begin--and end--dreams. There's a contrived subplot in which an angry girl in the class falsely accuses the teacher of sexual harassment; but for most of the story, Alice's comic, affectionate narrative captures the bumblings and failures and intimacies of growing up female now. As Alice and her classmates try out adult roles, it's a bit like playing house and dress-up; it's also very clear that lack of planning can mean serious trouble. The message is all the more convincing because it isn't simplistic. Naylor is honest--you can't control everything that happens to you, nor would you want to.
A 12-year-old is a candidate for US President in this novel by Gutman (Gymnastics, p. 602, etc.), a story with all the trappings of satire, but none of its substance.
Affable but unambitious Judson Moon is judged the perfect candidate by his quick-witted, shrewd pal, Lane Brainard. No obstacle is too difficult for Lane: Soon Judson has the ideal running mate, an elderly black woman ("We're a perfect team. I'm young and she's old, I'm white and she's black"); contributions from his peers around the country add up to $20 million to finance the campaign; Congress abolishes the age requirement for executive office. One further suspension of disbelief is required, for Judson wins the election and resigns on the same night. Readers may find Judson's sense of humor more precocious than funny, and may recognize in him a nightmarish blend of glibness, mediocrity, and a touch of apathyin other words, a politician. But Judson's character remains unchanged by the election, and his condemnation of adults at the climax rings hollow, offering no clarion call to rally his generation. The easy ending serves to highlight the book's main flaw of trading silly jokes and lukewarm repartee for biting commentary and resonant moments. Rather than allowing Judson to emerge a leader, Gutman settles the American public with just one more class clown.
From the Publisher
"For a broad variety of kids ranging from Gordon Korman fans looking for a romp to embryonic candidates themselves, this should be just the ticket." -BCCB
"This humorous, informative book will be a fun read anytime..." - SLJ