Madam President

( 2 )

Overview

A little girl imagines what her day would be like if she were Madam President. There would be executive orders to give, babies to kiss, tuna casseroles to veto (or VETO!) and so much more! Not to mention that recess would definitely require more security.

With deadpan wit and hilarious illustrations, best-selling picture book creator Lane Smith introduces readers to an unforgettable new character.

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Overview

A little girl imagines what her day would be like if she were Madam President. There would be executive orders to give, babies to kiss, tuna casseroles to veto (or VETO!) and so much more! Not to mention that recess would definitely require more security.

With deadpan wit and hilarious illustrations, best-selling picture book creator Lane Smith introduces readers to an unforgettable new character.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Smith, who slyly recast U.S. history in John, Paul, George and Ben, introduces a zealous, freckled girl with presidential aspirations. Refreshingly, Katy skips the hand-wringing and never questions whether a girl could become commander-in-chief-instead, she behaves as if she is president already, fulfilling official duties at home and in school. Attired in a dark pantsuit, she brashly inserts herself in a Boy Scout "photo op," attends a pet frog's "state funeral" and treats an oral report as a press conference: "No comment. I'll get back to you on that." In mixed-media sequences with emphatic type, Smith mingles earnest words with visual jokes, such as the trail of small American flags Katy leaves in her wake. He depicts the heroine wielding the veto (the cafeteria's tuna casserole gets a nay) and, in florid script, crafts unofficial "Hail to the Chief" lyrics praising "the most awesome one of all" and "her rad administration." At one point, Katy crows in capital letters, "Why, the president is the most important person in the whole wide world!" (Tiny lowercase letters add, "And the most humble.") Smith gazes into the national future and just as ably skewers the pitfalls of political office.—PW

Most kids merely dream what they'll be when they grow up; Smith's heroine Katy lives the fantasy, charging through her day as self-proclaimed President of the United States. Up before seven, she starts off with orders for the staff (concerning breakfast waffles), snags a photo op on the way to school (baffling an unsuspecting Boy Scout troop), negotiates a peace treaty (between a snarling dog and bristling cat), names her Cabinet (Mr. Potato Head is an able Secretary of Agriculture and a see-through anatomical model handles the Interior), and relies on her Secret Service (cat) to protect her from suspicious schoolmates. She wields her veto power in the school cafeteria, obfuscates her oral report with firm repetitions of "No comment," and works her weary way home, only to find that her mother has alerted her to a disaster (in her messy room). Order restored, Katy's pooped by eight and leaves her clown-faced, stuffed vice president (do we detect some social commentary here?) to deal with the Freedonian ambassador. There's a richness to this zany picture book in its respect for big dreams-Katy is clearly inspired by the national heroes from Frederick Douglass to Susan B. Anthony who populate her books and adorn her walls-and in its gentle nose-tweaking of the political milieu-what else would an aspiring woman president wear by a conservative pants suit? Katy is a square-jawed force to be reckoned with, by turns smug, determined, conciliatory, outraged, and sweetly childlike. That her classmates and offstage parents are oblivious to her esteemed official not only heightens the comedy but also underscores how little regard most citizens pay to the Chief Executive once the heat of election time has cooled. This is a must-have title that will unite both sides of the (lunchroom) aisle.—BCCB

A confident girl walks readers through a typical day at home and at school (Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary) as she fantasizes about herself as president. Her first executive order is for waffles. She then negotiates a treaty between a cat and dog and appoints a toy cabinet; Mr. Potato Head is a dapper Secretary of Agriculture. In decisive fonts, the Head of State vetoes tuna casserole and other schoolhouse aberrations. She "leads by example" when it's time to straighten up her bedroom, but wisely delegates an ambassador's visit to the VP as weariness sets in. Smith's understated text is accompanied by clean, cleverly designed compositions. The heroine's trapezoidal head and triangulated body are offset by stylized trees whose leaves are trimmed to float in perfect orbs. In what appears to be mixed media involving digital and hand-painted scenes as well as collage, the artist creates a '60s feel with earth-toned backgrounds that resemble the faux grass wallpaper so evocative of the period. Mid-20th-century games and presidential biographies for children are part of this fearless leader's paraphernalia. As in Smith's other spoofs, this book blends message with medium for maximum delight. Kathleen Krull's A Woman for President (Walker, 2004) and Jarrett Krosoczka's Max for President (Knopf, 2004) offer complementary glimpses at females and the Executive Branch. Hail to the chief!—SLJ

Whether the U.S. gets a woman president is still in doubt, but here a female narrator has already taken the role. In this sly, witty recitation of a president's responsibilities, a pony-tailed girl has the list down pat: give executive orders (to her cat); negotiate treaties (between said cat and dog); kiss babies; and veto, veto veto. There's no story, and the list of responsibilities does grow rather long. But the stretch can be forgiven because it provides more opportunity to enjoy Smith's amazing artwork. Madam President, with her boxy head and triangular body appears against a variety of backgrounds-some plain white, others packed with interesting things-with a disparate uses of materials and images that often give the look of collage. Particularly amusing is the two-page spread showing rows of cabinet secretaries inside a cabinet (e.g., a piggy bank Secretary of the Treasury, a Mr. Potato Head Secretary of the Agriculture). Kudos to Molly Leach, whose design makes everything from the lettering to end pages look fabulous. Although there's some winking at adults, this book is very much for kids, who might even come away having learned a bit about presidential duties.—Booklist

A deadpan text outlines a president's extensive duties, while Madam-a ponytailed girl in a snappy pin-striped pantsuit-trips through an exhausting day, bestowing small American flags as she goes. Smith's illustrations combine cartoonish figures, mod interiors and stylized landscapes a-swirl with fall leaves. A whimsical double-page spread proclaiming "A president must choose a capable cabinet" pairs toys with their official titles: Mr. Potato Head is Secretary of Agriculture, for instance, and a winged unicorn is "Secretary of Fantasy." Such retro elements as a deck of Old Maid cards and a Ruth Buzzi button will tickle adults, as might a Duck Soup derived reference to "[t]he ambassador of Freedonia." Children can squint at the spines of Madam Prez's library (which leans to American history) and spot scores of visuals signaling her obsession (presidential busts, a pet cat doubling as a Secret Service agent). Though the Oval Office here is no more than a messy bedroom, this funny romp lightly delivers a hefty message for today's girls: The White House is yours for the taking.—Kirkus

Lisa Von Drasek
…a clever picture book portrait of a little girl who fantasizes about what it would be like to be president…The girl's deadpan declarations—"A president has special privileges. One word: Veto!"—perfectly balance Smith's animated cartoon art.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Smith, who slyly recast U.S. history in John, Paul, George and Ben, introduces a zealous, freckled girl with presidential aspirations. Refreshingly, Katy skips the hand-wringing and never questions whether a girl could become commander-in-chief-instead, she behaves as if she is president already, fulfilling official duties at home and in school. Attired in a dark pantsuit, she brashly inserts herself in a Boy Scout "photo op," attends a pet frog's "state funeral" and treats an oral report as a press conference: "No comment. I'll get back to you on that." In mixed-media sequences with emphatic type, Smith mingles earnest words with visual jokes, such as the trail of small American flags Katy leaves in her wake. He depicts the heroine wielding the veto (the cafeteria's tuna casserole gets a nay) and, in florid script, crafts unofficial "Hail to the Chief" lyrics praising "the most awesome one of all" and "her rad administration." At one point, Katy crows in capital letters, "Why, the president is the most important person in the whole wide world!" (Tiny lowercase letters add, "And the most humble.") Smith gazes into the national future and just as ably skewers the pitfalls of political office. Ages 4-8. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Author/illustrator Lane Smith playfully depicts a bossy girl who sets herself up as president of her own small world. Like the commander in chief, she enjoys "special privileges" and uses her power to veto the school's tuna casserole. She chooses a "capable cabinet," which includes Mr. Potato Head as Secretary of Agriculture and a reclining sock monkey as Secretary of Naps. She seems to have everything under control, until bedtime finds her "pooped" from all the responsibility and deciding to delegate one last task to the vice president. Smith expertly balances a minimalist text against colorful double-page spreads, many with multiple panels that humorously portray the pint-sized Head of State. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3- A confident girl walks readers through a typical day at home and at school (Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary) as she fantasizes about herself as president. Her first executive order is for waffles. She then negotiates a treaty between a cat and dog and appoints a toy cabinet; Mr. Potato Head is a dapper Secretary of Agriculture. In decisive fonts, the Head of State vetoes tuna casserole and other schoolhouse aberrations. She "leads by example" when it's time to straighten up her bedroom, but wisely delegates an ambassador's visit to the VP as weariness sets in. Smith's understated text is accompanied by clean, cleverly designed compositions. The heroine's trapezoidal head and triangulated body are offset by stylized trees whose leaves are trimmed to float in perfect orbs. In what appears to be mixed media involving digital and hand-painted scenes as well as collage, the artist creates a '60s feel with earth-toned backgrounds that resemble the faux grass wallpaper so evocative of the period. Mid-20th-century games and presidential biographies for children are part of this fearless leader's paraphernalia. As in Smith's other spoofs, this book blends message with medium for maximum delight. Kathleen Krull's A Woman for President (Walker, 2004) and Jarrett Krosoczka's Max for President (Knopf, 2004) offer complementary glimpses at females and the Executive Branch. Hail to the chief!-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
A deadpan text outlines a president's extensive duties, while Madam-a ponytailed girl in a snappy pin-striped pantsuit-trips through an exhausting day, bestowing small American flags as she goes. Smith's illustrations combine cartoonish figures, mod interiors and stylized landscapes a-swirl with fall leaves. A whimsical double-page spread proclaiming "A president must choose a capable cabinet" pairs toys with their official titles: Mr. Potato Head is Secretary of Agriculture, for instance, and a winged unicorn is "Secretary of Fantasy." Such retro elements as a deck of Old Maid cards and a Ruth Buzzi button will tickle adults, as might a Duck Soup-derived reference to "[t]he ambassador of Freedonia." Children can squint at the spines of Madam Prez's library (which leans to American history) and spot scores of visuals signaling her obsession (presidential busts, a pet cat doubling as a Secret Service agent). Though the Oval Office here is no more than a messy bedroom, this funny romp lightly delivers a hefty message for today's girls: The White House is yours for the taking. (Picture book. 4-8)
Children's Literature - Tiffany Erickson
If a young girl were president, this would be a day in her life. The text and illustrations are full of clever asides and jokes; thankfully, many of these do translate well into the narration. The narrator's voice is strong but childlike, and it fits the character well. Music accompanies the narration and gives enough time to each page for readers to really take in the pictures and appreciate the silly jokes contained within. Some pages are definitely improved upon with sound and music, such as the "Hail to the Chief" remix and the page full of vetoes. Children will love to use their veto like the character does. An author interview is included. The discussion will have children flipping back through pages to find the birch trees and cat that are mentioned there and adults keying in to Smith's secret for getting children to read. Teachers will love this set as it will stimulate lively classroom discussion—and just might ignite their students' political aspirations, too. Reviewer: Tiffany Erickson
Children's Literature - Joan Kindig
What exactly are the responsibilities of a president? In the most lighthearted and fun way possible, Lane Smith shows the duties of a president through the eyes of a little girl who thinks she is a president. She has a cabinet (literally) and it is there that she has the Secretary of the Interior and other important secretaries such as the Secretary of Pizza and the Secretary of Fantasy. Our protagonist has a very favorite thing about being president: the VETO! Children who really hold no power at all in their own lives will love reading about this little girl who gets to say no to anything she does not like. Veto the cafeteria's tuna noodle casserole and veto the Little House on the Prairie Musical. Ah, the power! She has a theme song which is, of course, Hail to the Chief, but the lyrics have been modified. With tongue-in-cheek humor this book starts the conversation about what a president really does. It is wildly entertaining and the illustrations are as funny as the story. The music is wonderful and Madam President's humming throughout makes this child as real as they come. An added treat is a funny author interview with Smith where he talks about the genesis of the book, his medium of choice, and how this book makes a nice companion piece to his earlier book, John, Paul, George, and Ben. This is a video for every classroom out there. As always, a lesson plan is included for use in the classroom. Running time: 9 minutes. Animation. Reviewer: Joan Kindig, Ph.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423108467
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 7/29/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 220,117
  • Lexile: AD230L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lane Smith is a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator for The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. His latest book, John, Paul, George & Ben, received countless honors, including three starred reviews, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and Child Magazine and Parenting Magazine Best Book of the Year.
Lane's collaborations with Jon Scieszka include the seminal children's book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, as well as Math Curse, Science Verse, and many more. Lane lives in Connecticut.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for Kids @ TeensReadToo.com

    One little girl imagines her day if she were President. <BR/><BR/>Katy uses an executive order to refill her waffle plate. Recess includes secret service agents hiding behind the trees. She vetoes tuna salad for lunch. Katy even has to deal with a Disaster Area - her room. <BR/><BR/>Lane Smith creates a story that will make readers giggle. The adorable pictures reinforce the humorous tale. While the presidential subject is timely, this book will be enjoyed for years to come.

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  • Posted November 3, 2008

    Very cute book with fun illustrations

    Overall, I thought this book was a good one to introduce some of the responsibilites of being a president. From orders to give, lunches to approve (or veto!), teaties to negotiate, keeping a cool head during a disaster, and choosing a capable cabinet, this story gives students real life situations to relate to. The illustrations and font sizes were fantastic. Great way to begin learning/teaching about the president and his duties.

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