Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Themed Reviews: Election Part II

History and Humor of Getting Elected in the United States

   Many of those who have run for an elected office are quite aware of their place in history and contemplate how historians may view their actions in the future. Many of those same people would probably want to avoid records that shed a humorous light on their political platforms but also recognize that life can be humorous - even for politicians or especially for politicians. Can you imagine President Lincoln telling jokes? ". . . as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, Lincoln reportedly 'kept the House in a continuous roar of merriment.'" Apparently he loved to make people laugh and told jokes even after he was elected. He kept books of jokes to read to friends and visitors to the White House.

   The following selections were gleaned from the rich literature resources found at CLCD and reflect the humor of elections and the elected, as well as some of the changes in the history of elections and voting in the United States.

   Using CLCD made it easy for me to build this list, restricting my searches to those books published since the last election (parameter setting: titles from 2008 through the present). Also, I was able to search for specific ages and particular subjects (ex: election humor). Take the free trial and discover for yourself the power of the database. CLCD will aid teachers, librarians, parents, and others who work with children and young adults. I know that I find it invaluable when I need to have access to vast amounts of information about literature.

Contributor: Sheilah Egan, Literature Consultant

President Pennybaker
Kate Feiffer
Illustrated by Diane Goode
   When his father issues an especially undeserved edict, Luke Pennybaker exclaims the universal cry of children everywhere: "It's not fair!" Not satisfied with just complaining, Pennybaker decides to do something about it. So, he runs for President of the United States on a platform that promises pets for all children, dessert any time of day, optional homework, and most importantly, to make life fair. With his dog Lily as a running mate, Luke heads out on the campaign trail, and the promises continue to grow. The retro style of clothes, cars, and telephones in Goode's illustrations give the story an old-time feel. Her whimsical watercolors energize this timely tale of a grassroots movement and the democratic process. Children will laugh at the idea of an orange White House, as well as the other ridiculous promises made by Pennybaker, but teachers can use the silly story as a springboard for more serious discussion about the election process. Pair this with Cronin's Duck for President for a fun November story time. 2008, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Ages 4 to 7, $16.99. Reviewer: Heather Christensen (Children's Literature). 
ISBN: 9781416913542

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