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Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought)

( 3 )

Overview

What did the presidents of the United States do for fun? What were their favorite foods? What were their nicknames and favorite pets? And how did they take care of their hair? Every U.S. president is the focus of public scrutiny, but how well do we know these men? What kind of fathers do presidents make? Husbands? Neighbors? Other books focus on the historical achievements of those who have occupied our country's highest office; Lives of the Presidents looks instead at their bad habits, silly nicknames, and ...

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Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought)

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Overview

What did the presidents of the United States do for fun? What were their favorite foods? What were their nicknames and favorite pets? And how did they take care of their hair? Every U.S. president is the focus of public scrutiny, but how well do we know these men? What kind of fathers do presidents make? Husbands? Neighbors? Other books focus on the historical achievements of those who have occupied our country's highest office; Lives of the Presidents looks instead at their bad habits, silly nicknames, and strange pets. Every president - from George Washington to Bill Clinton - is included, with an emphasis on those who have had the greatest impact on history. Discover their high points, low points, and the times in between.

In this stunning addition to their acclaimed series, Kathleen Krull and Kathryn Hewitt take us beyond politics and photo opportunities, revealing the entertaining, complex, and very real lives of the presidents.

Kathleen Krull is well known for her innovative, award-winning nonfiction for young readers. She is a book reviewer and former children's books editor. Ms. Krull lives in San Diego, California.

Kathryn Hewitt has illustrated the previous books in the Lives of the ... series as well as picture books for younger readers. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

Focuses on the lives of presidents as parents, husbands, pet-owners, and neighbors while also including humorous anecdotes about hairstyles, attitudes, diets, fears, and sleep patterns.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Krull (Lives of the Writers; Lives of the Athletes) has a proven knack for delivering generous dollops of covert asides along with fun facts and pertinent information when it comes to profiling famous figures. This latest effort does not disappoint. Beginning with her debunking of the myth that George Washington had wooden teeth, Krull briskly moves through the list of White House inhabitants, discussing their personality quirks and qualifications for elected office (or seeming lack thereof) as well as offering tidbits about their marriages and love lives, favorite foods and pastimes, family pets and, of particular import these days, scandals. She goes so far as to mention that President Clinton has "admitted privately that he has had affairs," and hints at his reputation as a womanizer. Presidents whose terms had major historical significance and more recent chiefs of state are given longer entries (two to three pages) while the others receive paragraphs. All, however, are written up in the same chatty and intriguing tone. In watercolor-and-colored-pencil paintings, Hewitt, in her signature style, depicts each president with a very large head and smaller body. Background scenery and dress suggest the historical era and significant details about the man; those presidents with a full-page portrait include an inset, smaller portrait of the First Lady in the top left corner of the painting. Young readers will find many of the school-report essentials here--birthplaces and dates, number of terms in office--and plenty of items that will surely entertain as well as educate.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
The talented team of Krull and Hewitt continue their biographical collaboration with this survey of American presidents. The book is light on policy and heavy on idiosyncracies, as promised, and makes for an entertaining read. Probably due to space considerations, the emphasis is on the big names and recent presidents, but one longs for more extensive coverage of really interesting individuals such as John Quincy Adams. The book should whet the reader's appetite for more.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Who says biography can't be authoritative and fun at the same time? This briskly written book presents our presidents as human beings first, figureheads second. Krull asserts that her intent was to look "at our leaders with a cool, contemporary eye, respectful but definitely nosy." She succeeds admirably. This is the perfect antidote to encyclopedia articles and standard collective biographies. Krull is factual, but her writing has pizzazz and her details bring the heads of state to life. The most coverage is given to modern presidents and the best known leaders of the past, but for almost any of the 42 men, tidbits of information contain insight. That Andrew Johnson barely escaped impeachment is fairly common knowledge, but not so well known is the fact that this dapper little man was apprenticed to a tailor and made his own suits. John F. Kennedy certainly had charisma, and he could also bark like a seal for two minutes straight-a voice technique he had learned from a vocal coach. Packed with enough detail for brief reports, these articles are also just plain entertaining and could be used to pique students' interest in biography. Hewitt's spirited watercolor cartoons add to the presentation immensely, showing, as they do, the individual, his style of dress, and, in the case of longer articles, his spouse and some of the accoutrements of his life. The jacket cover, displaying presidents, spouses, and one first child, provides a provocative draw for this fine book.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935430568
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio Inc
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Series: Lives of... Series
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Krull is well known for her innovative, award-winning nonfiction for young people, including Lives of the Explorers, Lives of the Musicians, and all other books in this popular series illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt. She is also the author of Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, as well as The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) and Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country), both co-written with Paul Brewer and illustrated by Stacy Innerst. She lives in San Diego, California. Visit her website at www.kathleenkrull.com.

Kathryn Hewitt's caricatures of famous figures led kids to dub the Lives of . . . series the "Big Head" books. She has illustrated many books for young readers, some of which she also wrote. She lives in Santa Monica, California. Visit her website at www.kathrynhewitt.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2000

    Not for kids only!

    This book makes the presidents exactly what they are: HUMAN! Kathryn Hewitt's clever illustrations drew me to the book; Kathleen Krull's lively stories kept me from putting it down! Learning of the presidents' favorite late night snacks (which one loved to lie on the floor, reading a book and eating cornbread?), favorite animals (some had menageries in the White House), and their true views on slavery, civil rights, and women's rights (which did not always agree with their public views) made for fascinating reading. By no means is this book meant to replace a more historical study of the presidents; it is rather, an entertaining supplement. However, don't be surprised if it sparks further study of the presidents, and U.S. history in general.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2011

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    Posted October 28, 2013

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