Monday, August 6, 2012

Election! a review

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)

Nonfiction Monday is here today! Add your link below.
Thanks so much for joining in today's roundup.


  1. Thank you for hosting today! A timely selection.

  2. Thank you so much for hosting this week. :) My Nonfiction Monday contribution is Leonard Marcus' recently-published book: Show me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators. Here is the link just in case:

  3. Thanks for hosting. My submission this week is Look!Look!Look!at Sculpture by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace with Linda K. Friedlaender.

  4. Great post, Lisa! My voting has been "lever-less" for a long time.

  5. Thanks to all who have left links so far. I'll check back on my lunch break. Happy Monday.

  6. I got a strange message, so here's my post for today.
    Scorpions at SimplyScience.

    1. Thanks for joining us. I'm glad you were able to get your post added, and I'm almost thankful that it's sans photo, now that I know your post is about scorpions! ;)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Thanks for hosting today! I love these tidbits of American facts, as will kids. (I had to delete my previous post because I had a grammar error ... ooops! :))

  9. Thanks for hosting.
    My selection is "Magic trash: a story of Tyree Guyton and his art" written by J.H. Shapiro and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

    1. I added your link for you, Janet. Thanks for joining us.


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