The Weird, Wacky, Little, Big, Scary, Strange Animals That Have Lived in the White House
America’s First Pets.
It’s been said that if you want a friend at the White House, get a dog. Or, we might add, perhaps a cat, bird, bear, or maybe an alligator! Throughout America’s history, the presidential menagerie has included an array of creatures both big and small, ordinary and absurd.
This inside look at the White House’s animal residents features a rollicking, rhyming verse for each commander-in-chief’s pets, accompanied by cool facts, presidential stats, and laugh-out-loud cartoon art. John Quincy Adams kept an alligator in the bathtub, while Thomas Jefferson’s pride and joy was his pair of bear cubs. Andrew Jackson had a potty-mouthed parrot, and Martin Van Buren got into a fight with Congress over his two baby tigers. First daughter Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni had free reign over the White House. But the pet-owning winner of all the presidents was Theodore Roosevelt, who had a hyena, lion, zebra, badger, snake, rats, a nippy dog that bit the French ambassador, and more!
Perfect for this election year! While the race heats up, everyone will be wondering who the next first pet will be.
Look Inside the Book:
Author & Illustrator Bios:Julia Moberg, author
Julia Moberg grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Southlake, Texas. She attended New York University where she received both her B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing at Tisch School of the Arts. She is the author of Skies over Sweetwater, a young adult novel. She currently splits her time between Paris, France, and Nashville, Tennessee.
Read more about Julia.
Jeff Albrecht Studios, illustrator
Awards & Honors:
IRA/CBC Children's Choices list
School Library Journal
This is a great introduction to presidential history by way of looking at pets that have lived in the White House, from alligators to pigs and everything in between. Filled with goofy illustrations that will pull kids in, the book is well organized, with each president receiving a colorful spread. Each entry opens with a humorous rhyming poem that describes an event with the pet, which usually has historical significance, and includes "Presidential Stats"-basic information about the man's personal life and term. A "Tell Me More!" box offers a mix of about five pieces of trivia about the president and the animal he lived with. For example, the entry on Grant speaks of his ponies, dog, and parrot, but also talks about how he was the first president to run against a woman and then briefly discusses Victoria Woodhull. "Accomplishments & Events" has three or four items listed. Moberg uses humor, trivia, and children's innate love of animals to bring to life the presidents and the history that surrounded their time in office. This is a book that readers can come back to over and over, enjoying different aspects of it each time and in a different order.
Books on presidential trivia are not in short supply, but this one, offering funny rhyming prose alongside relatable trivia facts, distinguishes itself with laugh-out-loud illustrations. Readers will be smitten with the images of Thomas Jefferson nonchalantly walking his two bear cubs on leashes, an angry Andrew Jackson arguing with his foul-mouthed parrot, and Theodore Roosevelt's prized dog, Pete, biting an unassuming French ambassador in the backside. Forty-three anecdotes are included, and each is introduced with a clever poem that is perfectly suited for read-alouds. Lists of accomplishments and basic statistics for each president are also included, and although the book is not tremendously comprehensive, it is notably up-to-date, including the takedown of Osama Bin Ladin [sic] in Barack Obama's section. The mixture of straight nonfiction text, rhythmic verse, and vibrant graphics make this a versatile addition to any collection or classroom in need of a presidential trivia tome.
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Page count: 96
9 x 10