Monday, November 21, 2011

Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull and Kathryn Hewitt - OPTIONAL

Krull, Kathleen and Kathryn Hewitt.  Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought) Harcourt Children's Books (Houghton Mifflin), 2011. $21.00.  NONFICTION.  Language: G; Adult Content: some parents might not want their children to know about the extramarital exploits of our president.  This is an updated edition, now including details about even Barack Obama.  While some presidents receive only a paragraph or two written about them, many get up to three full pages.  This book tries to give information that others might not necessarily have already known (like what type of music President Obama has on his iPod or which president ate bran flakes for breakfast).  I started off hating this book, but by the end I found many entries interesting.  Perhaps the book rubbed me the wrong way because I felt it was obviously anti-John Adams (the founding father who is most neglected).  Then, my complaint was that because the book had such a short time to convey information about these presidents, I felt that the authors often chose to tell us what to think about the president rather than show us about him and let us form our own opinions about him.  I did not feel this way so much about the entries concerning the later presidents.  Maybe that is because they had more material to help them show the presidents more clearly.  I still don't think that this book is a must have because I bet that there are some short biographies about the presidents individually that would be a better alternative.  But I am not going to throw my copy away or anything.  EL, MS, HS - Optional.  Brent Smith, Reading Teacher

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