Gr 3-6-- From the unwelcome, lowly cockroach and rats to simple, useful animals and, finally, pets kept just for pleasure and comfort, this book covers nine U. S. presidents and their animals. Caulkins begins each chapter with a brief, informative, historical sketch of that man and then adds short vignettes about his pets and their relationship with the president and his family. Probably the most famous is FDR's Scottie, Fala. There is a full-page photo of the dog with his donated rubber toys, which were recycled to make tires for the war. The book ends with our current White House canine star, Millie, the Bush family's springer spaniel. This is a delightful replacement for White House Pets (Mc Kay, 1969; o.p.) by Margaret Truman. Filled with black-and-white photos (some more clearly reproduced than others), this will be a welcome addition for report writers or pleasure readers. --Eowana Bradley Jordan, Westgate Elementary School, Manassas, VA
Most kids know about Millie, the Bushes' dog-turned-author, but how many are familiar with Dick the mockingbird, owned by Thomas Jefferson, or President Coolidge's raccoon, Rebecca? The topic is a natural for kids, and Caulkins does a particularly good job of introducing the presidents as well as the animals that they loved. Among the many pets presented are Alice and Quentin Roosevelt's snakes, FDR's famous dog, Fala, and Caroline Kennedy's pony, Macaroni. Good-sized print, many crisp photos, in black and white and in color, and a clean design add to the book's accessibility. Enjoyable nonfiction. Notes and bibliography appended.