Gutman, Dan. 2012. Election! A Kid's Guide to Picking our President.
New York: Open Road Media.
Advance copy provided by NetGalley. Available in paperback on August 21.
Just in time for the fall election, perennial kids' favorite, Dan Gutman
, offers up some answers to questions about our wonderful, but often wacky process of choosing our nation's leader. In question and answer format, Gutman begins with a history of the office of President of the United States (This official title was chosen over the other suggested titles,"His Highness," "His Elective Majesty," "His Supremacy," or "His Mightiness.")
He continues with questions about early campaigns, candidates, Constitutional issues, the electoral process, voting and inauguration.
Why does the president get a twenty-one gun salute?
The number twenty-one represents the year 1776, when America declared its independence. Add it up: one plus seven plus seven plus six equals twenty-one.
More than a book of trivia, though, Gutman delves into our modern method of campaigning, noting many of the "dirty tricks" used in politics - "Politics can get ugly at times."
How do citizens know what to believe?
... Always remember that the candidate is trying to show himself in the best possible way. You cannot make a fair evaluation just by watching TV commercials.
(Amen to that, Mr. Gutman.)
The book concludes with sources for additional information, election vocabulary, and an informative listing of all the nation's presidents.
This is a timely book, uniquely suited to its middle-grade audience, though many teens and adults could benefit from the information as well!
My only criticism (and it is a minor one) is that there are frequent references to "lever pulling" in the voting booth. I've been voting for many years and I've voted in three different states, but I couldn't tell you the last time that I saw an old-fashioned voting machine with a lever - maybe in 6th grade social studies when one was brought in as a visual teaching aid? Anyone out there still use the levers? Just wondering ... And lest anyone wishes to complain about Gutman's persistent use of the male pronoun throughout the book, he addresses this issue in the forward,
No offense is intended to females, one of whom will surely be elected president of the United States sometime soon.
I hope he's right; and I wish every voter would read this 162-page book as a refresher course in her civic duty. (excuse the feminine pronoun - no offense intended)
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