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A Dog's Eye View Of Washington, D.C.

A Dog's Eye View Of Washington, D.C.

by Edward M. Kennedy, David Small (Illustrator)

Ted Kennedy and David Small team up to provide a smart, funny, and affectionate look at life in our nation's capital from the perspective of the senator and his very perceptive dog.

There's an old saying: "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." Senator Ted Kennedy decided to do just that. His beloved Portuguese Water Dog Champion Amigo's Seventh


Ted Kennedy and David Small team up to provide a smart, funny, and affectionate look at life in our nation's capital from the perspective of the senator and his very perceptive dog.

There's an old saying: "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." Senator Ted Kennedy decided to do just that. His beloved Portuguese Water Dog Champion Amigo's Seventh Wave (nicknamed Splash) is one of the most famous canines on Capitol Hill. Here we follow Senator Kennedy and Splash through a busy day in D.C., from press conferences to meetings with school groups to committee discussions to a floor vote. The result is an exciting, behind-the-scenes look at the life of one of the most energetic figures in American politics -- and, of course, his equally famous owner.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Gr. 2–4. In this high-spirited if low-angled trot through the congressional halls of power, Splash (a Portuguese water dog, for those who dote on such details) follows his senatorial companion (who looks a lot like Senator Kennedy) through a typical day. Interspersed with such highlights as a romp on the Capitol's lawn and a ride on the underground tram that runs between the Capitol and the office building, the day features a press conference, photo ops, a heated conference committee discussion about an education bill, and an important vote. In sketchy watercolor views of, first, the puppy farm, and, later, the Capitol Hill area, Caldecott winner Small tones down his customary caricatures (though not entirely) to match the narrative's light, amiable tone. Capped by a précis of the legislative process, this book is a natural companion for So You Want to Be President (2000). –John Peters
What would it feel like to be Senator Ted Kennedy's dog? If you have already ruminated on this question, you are better prepared than most for this new children's book by the senior senator from Massachusetts. My Senator and Me follows Kennedy and his canine companion, Splash, through an entire bow-wow day on Capitol Hill: from press conferences to meetings with school groups to committee conferences and a yummy congressional vote. Harry S. Truman once said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." Apparently, Ted Kennedy took his advice.
Publishers Weekly
Enthusiastically and endearingly narrated by Splash, Senator Kennedy's Portuguese Water Dog, this spry tale features suitably airy, often comical ink-and-watercolor illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Small (So You Want to Be President?). The bright-eyed canine introduces his beloved master, exclaiming, "The wonderful people of Massachusetts have elected and reelected him to the Senate for more years than I can even count!" Text and art strike a wry note as a skeptical Kennedy shakes hands with well-heeled folk at a gala-their toothy smiles clearly phony-as Splash reiterates the adage, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." With Small's help, Splash offers a breezy tour of Washington, D.C.'s key monuments and buildings, bragging that he knows the city "like the back of my paw." The pooch then describes highlights of a day in the life of a working dog: riding the underground tram from the Senate office building to the Capitol (Small pictures the pooch with wide-eyed anticipation); posing for a photo with students, barking to silence a group of bickering Senators and Representatives trying to negotiate two versions of an education bill, and expressing displeasure at being barred from the Senate chamber ("I've seen plenty of Senators, and they don't behave any better than I do!"). Biographical sketches of Kennedy and Splash and a succinct explanation of how a bill becomes a law conclude this amusing, informative account, certain to win the votes-and hearts-of dog-loving kids. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.
Meet Splash, Senator Ted Kennedy's Portuguese Water Terrier. In this DVD, Splash helps children learn how a bill becomes law. In simple language and animation, young viewers get a "dog's eye view" of the legislative process. Lest they think that Washington is all work and no play, Splash shows them how the senator takes his dog to the mall for a lively game of fetch. The senator works hard, laughs a lot, meets with constituents, and has great affection for his pooch. Splash (voiced by David de Vries) is an engaging, adorable narrator, but Senator Kennedy also plays a part, voicing his own lines. Splash introduces children to the familiar monuments of the city and shows them the Senator's office, the tram that takes them to the Capitol building to vote on a bill, and a conference committee room. Movement of the animated humans seems a bit stiff at times. The DVD comes with suggestions for activities that can be done before and after viewing to provide background and context for young viewers. At 23 minutes, the film will keep children's attention and inspire questions about what they have seen. This DVD, which was adapted from the 2006 book of the same name, is an excellent choice for elementary school classrooms to introduce students to the legislative process in an age-appropriate and stimulating way. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
Children's Literature - Kristina Cassidy
Illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner David Small, this picture book follows Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy through a day in Washington, D.C. The story is told by his Portuguese water dog, Splash. Since it is narrated by the dog, the workings of Congress are handled in simple terms. Splash follows Senator Kennedy to a committee meeting and waits outside while the Senator casts his vote. The story is simple and easy to follow, but not especially informative. The last three pages are devoted to information about Senator Kennedy, Splash, and how a bill becomes law. The accompanying Read-Along CD is read by both the Senator and a narrator. Track one contains the story with page-turn signals, music, and sound effects. It runs twenty minutes and thirty seconds. Track two does not include page-turn signals. Track three contains the story read solely by the Senator, without music or effects, and runs fifteen minutes and forty-three seconds. Tracks four through six include more information about the Senator, Splash, and the detailed explanation of how a bill becomes a law. Track three is ideal for struggling readers who may be distracted by music or sound effects. This book would be a useful addition to a classroom unit on government. Reviewer: Kristina Cassidy
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-Kennedy's introduction to the political process is clear, informative, and loaded with child appeal, in part due to the choice of narrator: his Portuguese Water Dog, Splash. This canine bundle of friendly, panting fun takes readers on a tour of monuments and then describes a typical day: staff discussion of an education bill, a ride in the underground tram between the Senate and the Capitol, a press conference, a committee meeting, and a floor vote. Children will appreciate Splash's joy at the snacks and time for outdoor catch along the way, as well as the strategic "Woof" when the committee reaches an impasse on the bill. While the swift and tidy resolution is clearly fictional, the actual process is rendered memorable through the presentation. Small's shifting perspectives capture the shimmering lights viewed from a moving tram, the glory of the soaring Capitol rotunda, the heartfelt affection in a beloved dog's eyes. Back matter includes information about Kennedy, Splash, and how a bill becomes a law. With its multicultural cast, nonpartisan viewpoint, and protagonist brimming with personality, this look inside the Beltway is a first choice for classrooms, tourists, and animal lovers everywhere.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Edward M. Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for forty-seven years. He took a special interest in matters that involved education and health care for children.

David Small won the 2001 Caldecott Medal for So You Want to Be President by Judith St. George. His many books include The Gardener, The Friend, George Washington’s Cows, Imogene’s Antlers and Hoover’s Bride. He is also the illustrator for Russell Hoban’s The Mouse and His Child. His most recent title is My Senator and Me: A Dog’s Eye View of Washington D.C, written by Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

After receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale, David Small taught drawing and printmaking on the university level for 14 years. He lost his job in the 1980s due to cutbacks. This brought both a crisis and a commitment to begin working on combining his love of art and writing. Submitted to more than 20 publishers, his first book Eulalie and the Hopping Head was eventually published in 1982.

Small works with watercolor, pen and ink, and pastel. His later works have a much softer look, but they continue to include his trademark attention to small details that beg to be poured over again and again. Growing as an artist is important to Small. He feels he has not yet done his best work, and enjoys challenging himself with new ideas, styles and media.

Small lives in Mendon, Michigan, with his wife, the writer Sarah Stewart.

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