Monday, August 13, 2012

"Woodrow for President"

"He worked hard in school and -- all students note --
At 18 years old, he registered to vote!"

Woodrow for President: A Tail of Voting, Campaigns, and Elections by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes is a story of a mouse from "Moussouri" and his road to the Presidency.  It's for ages 5 and up.

This book breaks down the great unknown process of "How does one become President of the United States?" It "stresses the importance of civic and community involvement in good citizenship.  This includes volunteering, registering to vote, and participating in the political process...." I was glad they made Woodrow a family "man." From the very beginning they had him on the floor playing with his many children. They showed his rise through the ranks from town council to governor. Phoebe (age 6) noticed that he had to make lots of speeches. Debates and campaigns and voting were all covered in this tale.

Harrison (age 2) enjoyed the pictures, pointing out all the balloons. Sometimes the illustrations feel too crowded to me, but I enjoyed those that had one scene per page.  My concrete thinker (Jonathan, age 8) couldn't grasp the fact that a mouse was becoming President. All the cutesy mouse wordplay is lost on him. This book did spark a lively debate between he and Elizabeth (age 10) about whether a man or woman would make a better president. Whew! We had some fightin' words going on.

The Tail End section has some very interesting information, I thought. The authors share little tidbits from history and current practice concerning a number of topics.  For instance, under "Political Parties" they tell us: "Do you think everyone should eat vegetables?  If so, then you might have joined the Vegetarian Party! ....That is what happened in 1947 when a group of people thought that the only food we should eat were vegetables." That was a fun fact I hadn't heard of before.

We didn't fall in love with this book. It was a chore to read through it ~ not so much for me to read out loud but for the kids to listen. It may have been better if read over several days. I think sometimes adults believe children need to be enticed into learning. They can't fathom that ideas all on their own would be interesting to a child. But knowledge is food for a child's mind if we don't do all the work and chew it up for them beforehand. That's why I loved the discovery of living books a few years ago. It seems like Woodrow for President is trying to hook kids with their mouse mascot and cartoony illustrations and rhyming verse. And the information is compelling all by itself. I enjoy the Tail End section best because of that ~ it is short segments of information told interestingly with historical illustrations.

The best part of reading to my kids about Mr. Woodrow Washingtail was the conversation that came from it. Elections are coming up, so it was easy to explain what Dad and Mom will be doing for that process as Woodrow for President mentioned it throughout the story. It was also a great reminder to me of how the road to the Presidency works, so that later on, I can answer my kids' questions about it.

This review is a part of a TLC Book Tour where many bloggers give their opinion of the same book.  You can find more reviews of this book here at TLC Book Tours.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I have a Phoebe too! She is 6 months don't hear about many Phoebe's out there! ;)

    1. I hope your Phoebe is as fun as ours! :-)

  2. What a timely read! Thanks for being on the tour.