So You Want to Be President?
So You Want to Be President?

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Annotation: Presents an assortment of facts about the qualifications and characteristics of U.S. presidents, from George Washington to Bill Clinton.
Catalog Number: #276249
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
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Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
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Copyright Date: 2004
Edition Date: 2004
Illustrator: Small, David,
Pages: 52 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-399-24317-8 Perma-Bound: 0-8479-5320-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-399-24317-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8479-5320-2
Dewey: 973
LCCN: 2004004464
Dimensions: 30 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
The presidential faces on Mount Rushmore are depicted in a jovial cartoon style on the cover--an encouraging invitation to the witty observations within. Arranging historical tidbits in an attractive buffet, this well-timed book offers anecdotes both cautionary and guaranteed to attract attention and arouse interest. Appended are brief biographical sketches of the presidents and a short bibliography.
Kirkus Reviews
Just in time for the presidential election, St. George ( In the Line of Fire: Presidents Lives at Stake , 1999, etc.) uses the experiences of our 42 presidents to counsel youngsters harboring that uniquely American desire—to be president. Reflecting on the "good things about being President and . . . bad things about being President . . ." she offers a pleasingly diverse slate of facts and figures for her readers' consideration: age (the oldest—Reagan; the youngest—Teddy Roosevelt), size (the smallest—Madison—at 100 lbs., contrasting with Taft, at over 300), career choices (generals, lawyers, haberdashers, farmers), first names (six Jameses, four Johns, four Williams, two Georges, two Franklins), education (nine presidents never went to college, while one—Andrew Johnson—"didn't learn to write until after he was married"). At the close of this sometimes wry, sometimes sober survey (including impeachments, wars, and assassinations), St. George encourages: "If you want to be president—a good president—pattern yourself after the best . . . [those who] have asked more of themselves than they thought they could give . . . They [who] have had the courage, spirit, and will to do . . . [what's] right." Small's ( The Huckabuck Family , 1999, etc.) pitch-perfect caricatures, rendered in a mix of watercolor, ink, and pastel, expand on the personalities and support the narrative's shifting moods. There's a helpful key to every illustration and a presidential chronology from Washington to Clinton. Even a few "non-presidents" are featured: Pat Nixon and Henry Kissinger watch (with future President Ford) President Nixon bowl in the White House lanes, and there's a wonderfully wry glimpse of two "also-ran's"—Jesse Jackson and Geraldine Ferraro—excluded from an across-the-centuries presidential reception by a velvet rope. A superb, kid-centered survey and a perfect way to enliven the perennial class unit on the presidents. (Nonfiction. 7-12)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 4-8-Curious tidbits of personal information and national history combine with humorously drawn caricatures to give this tongue-in-cheek picture book a quirky appeal. "There are good things about being President and there are bad things about being President." So begins a walk through a brief history of facts, successes, oddities, and mishaps. For example, most readers won't know that William Howard Taft weighed over 300 pounds and ordered a specially made bathtub. Small's drawing of a naked Taft being lowered into a water-filled tub by means of a crane should help them remember. Another spread depicts a men's shop where Andrew Johnson (a tailor) fits Ronald Reagan (an actor) for a suit while Harry Truman (a haberdasher) stands behind the counter. While the text exposes the human side of the individuals, the office of the presidency is ultimately treated with respect and dignity. A list of presidents with terms of office, birthplace, date of birth and death, and a one-sentence summary of their accomplishments is provided. This title will add spark to any study of this popular subject.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* for reading aloud. Portraits of the presidents can be generally described as staid, stodgy, and dull. Throw these adjectives out the window when describing this book's group portrayal of American presidents. St. George leads her audience, ostensibly young presidential hopefuls, through the good points of the presidency (big house with its own bowling alley and movie theater) and bad points (lots of homework). Then she offers a spiffy presidential history with comparisions and contrasts: most popular names, log cabin origins, ages, looks, backgrounds, pets, musical abilities, favorite sports, and personalities (William McKinley was so nice that he tried to stop a mob from attacking the man who had just shot him). The book holds out the possibility that someday a woman, a person of color, or a person who is neither Protestant nor Roman Catholic might be elected president. The discussion ends with the oath of office and the thought that most presidents have tried to do their best to fulfill it. David Small's delightful illustrations, usually droll and sometimes hilarious, will draw children to the book and entertain them from page to page. Memorable images include the comical sight of the obese President Taft being lowered into a bathtub by a crane and a powerful scene showing two figures, Nixon (looking disgruntled) and Clinton (looking dejected), descending the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, under the shadow of impeachment. Thoughtful composition and layout both contribute to the lively visual presentation of this most original look at the presidency. The light tone of the book makes it possible for readers to absorb a great deal of information, some of it silly, but underlying the treatment is a sense of the significance and dignity of the office and the faith that children still aspire to be president. (Reviewed July 2000)
Word Count: 2,226
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.8 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 39885 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.2 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q23560
Lexile: 850L
Guided Reading Level: S
Fountas & Pinnell: S

This new version of the Caldecott-winning classic by illustrator David Small and author Judith St. George is updated with current facts and new illustrations to include our forty-second president, George W. Bush. There are now three Georges in the catalog of presidential names, a Bush alongside the presidential family tree, and a new face on the endpaper portraiture.
Hilariously illustrated by Small, this celebration by St. George shows us the foibles, quirks and humanity of forty-two men who have risen to one of the most powerful positions in the world. Perfect for this election year--and every year!

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