Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Presidents FYI

Smithsonian. 2008. Presidents FYI. New York: Harper Collins.

Presidents FYI is another publication timed for the presidential election year. Written for the Smithsonian Institution, it is, as can be expected, an accurate and engaging look at each of the nation's presidents. With a page for each president (more for those who served additional terms), Presidents FYI offers a short biographical sketch with accompanying photos, paintings, newspaper articles, etc. At least one little-known fact is included in each entry, "James Madison was the smallest man ever elected president - just 5 feet 4 inches tall and only around 100 pounds." Or the entry from Andrew Jackson's page, at his White House inauguration party, "crowds of people smashed dishes, stood on the furniture, and fought over the punch. Jackson escaped from the party through a window and spent his first night as president in a hotel."

A glossary, additional resources, and information on the office of the presidency are also included.

This is a fine book for children seeking a quick glimpse into the life and times of the presidents, however, See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes and the Race to the White House or So You Want to be President? are much more entertaining and more humorously illustrated.

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