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Wackiest White House Pets
     

Wackiest White House Pets

5.0 1
by Kathryn Gibbs Davis, David A. Johnson (Illustrator)
 

In the tradition of the Caldecott-winning book SO YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT? Gibbs Davis and David A. Johnson present some of the White House's wackiest residents with hilarious fun.

White House pets come in every size, shape, and species. What are some of the pets that belong to the world's most powerful men and their families? John Quincy Adams' alligator liked

Overview

In the tradition of the Caldecott-winning book SO YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT? Gibbs Davis and David A. Johnson present some of the White House's wackiest residents with hilarious fun.

White House pets come in every size, shape, and species. What are some of the pets that belong to the world's most powerful men and their families? John Quincy Adams' alligator liked to slither across the White House steps and was fond of chasing the guests! Thomas Jefferson took walks around the garden with his pet grizzly bears! James Buchannan received a herd of elephants from the King of Siam! William Howard Taft, who was fond of creamy fresh milk, kept a milk cow in the kitchen! With comical anecdotes and hilarious illustrations, here is a side-splitting look at American history.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Who says history has to be dry? Children and pets have a natural affinity for one another which will make this delightfully informative book a hit. Beginning with its great cover depicting President John Quincy Adams fleeing the jaws of an alligator, readers will know they are in for a fascinating treat. Dogs and horses, cows and sheep are here, but so too are silkworms, mice, and a raccoon, to name but a few. The chronological presentation offers a subtle history lesson. Each double-page spread provides insight into the personality of the president and some important facts about his presidency. The humorous tone of the caricatures works well with the chatty tone of the text. Each president is listed in the back of the book with his dates in office, nickname, some interesting facts, and, of course, his family pets. The bibliography will be very useful for further research on the presidents. Each chapter is titled ("Most Talkative," "Biggest Ears," "Most Suspicious," etc.) and could be used as a game to get students into the book. Great to use around the Presidents' Day holiday, when studying the presidents, or simply for browsing. 2004, Scholastic Press, Ages 7 to 10.
—Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Davis has chosen 15 presidents, briefly summarizing their terms of office and highlighting the unusual animals they kept, as well as the quirky behavior of both the creatures and their owners. While some of the pet facts are mildly entertaining, the book is replete with sweeping generalizations that are often unfounded or misleading. For example: "Jefferson was a true democrat.- [he] not only believed in equal rights for people, he believed in equal rights for animals, too." Jefferson as a slaveholder is ignored. President Buchanan "was too old and cautious to make hard decisions." The relationship drawn between age and decision- making is ridiculous. "World War I was a time of plots and spies under every bed." Will the intended audience recognize the hyperbole here or take it literally? A section presenting some information about the other presidents is included, but with the same difficulties in terms of generalizations. Johnson's watercolor illustrations are amusing, but cannot compensate for the problems with the text. For a humorous, eclectic, but more accurate peek at the presidency, stay with Judith St. George's So You Want to Be President? (Philomel, 2000).-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Opening with the arguable notion that "pets make a house a home," Davis identifies 15 unusual members of the sizeable menagerie (about 400 strong, so far) that presidents or their families have kept. Stars of the show range from Andrew Johnson's mice and Woodrow Wilson's lawn-cropping sheep to a pair of grizzlies sent to Teddy Roosevelt, elephants given to James Buchanan ("the first White House pets to arrive with their own trunks!"), and that Thanksgiving turkey pardoned by Abe Lincoln. All are illustrated with pale, witty scenes-picture Wilson dressed as Bo Peep-that add droll side commentary. Davis is addicted to exclamation points and given to padding the often scanty record with simplistic historical nuggets-"Madison adopted the Bill of Rights," Kennedy "launched the space race"-but his enthusiasm is engaging, and his topic sheds an unusual sidelight on life within our first families. (source list) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439443739
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/2004
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.32(w) x 11.32(h) x 0.45(d)
Lexile:
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My students LOVED this winning combination of pets and presidential history. It's a fresh approach to White House history and humanizes the presidents through their family pets. The whimsical illustrations add to this 2004 PARENTS' CHOICE GOLD AWARD WINNER and was a PEOPLE MAGAZINE FEATURE for Christmas. I highly recommend it for third to fifth grade students.