Gr 3-6-An election at the Rhino Grade School is the background for a presentation of facts and trivia about U. S. presidents and the electoral process. Readers first meet the school presidential candidates, Tommy Tupperman (quiet and shy) and Penelope Ratsworth (loud and boisterous). Polls show Tommy's chances of winning are slim, so he consults "The Tupperman Files," historical facts and trivia about each president, in order to "learn from the best." Sketchy information about the men's personal interests and important events in their terms and a caricature are scattered across each double-page spread. Headings such as "Take That You Brute!", "Skinny-Dipping," and "I'm O.K., You're O.K.," while seeking to relate to today's students, show little respect for the Oval Office. There is no in-depth information here, and what is available is overshadowed by a school campaign that is negative in tone and seems to belittle the election process in both text and illustration. Alice Provensen's The Buck Stops Here (HarperCollins, 1990; o.p.) introduces the former leaders with a better balance of fact and illustration. Barbara Seuling's The Last Cow on the White House Lawn and Other Known Facts about the Presidency (Doubleday, 1978; o.p.) is superior for trivia, while information about the election process can be located in a variety of reference sources.-Diane Nunn, Richard E. Byrd Elementary School, Glen Rock, NJ
Irreverent and irrelevant facts about all 42 US presidents, each of whom is expertly caricatured in full color at the center of a spread and surrounded by short items of interest in which information and comedy overlap. Dates, height, weight, "presidential firsts," anecdotes, and facts connected to their administrations are thrown together in a colorful, highly entertaining history lessons. The facts that are the bulk of the book are framed by the ficticious election of Tommy Tupperman to class office, but only after he's schooled himself in the real presidential files. Funny illustrations run rampant among the information; this is history as a joke book, but it works.