This was a fun project with Clarion Books- written by Suzan Katz and designed by Kerry Martin. All sorts of embarrassing facts about our historic leaders...
This gathering of presidential foibles and fancies covers the gamut, from George W. the First to Barack.
Each is set as either a poem (rhymed and free verse) or a prose poem, and all display a handling of language that both is comfortable and exhibits a certain degree of flash. Of one-eyed James Buchanan: “So he cocked his head to focus. / He could tilt his view toward a distant star, / ogle an ash on a nearby cigar, / or peer halfway to Zanzibar. / Was there anything he didn’t notice?” Neubecker’s illustrations are wonderful puddles of colorful personality, true to the text but amplifying it (or further poking a sharp stick into the presidential eye). The only concern here is that some of the presidential tics are a bit dull. Of course, no one will deny the import of blubbery William Howard Taft wedging himself into the White House tub and needing a team of assistants to extricate him. Or T. Jefferson the inventor, J.Q. Adams the skinny dipper or Z. Taylor’s nearly missing the presidency for want of a stamp. But that J. Adams was chubby, J. Madison was small and M. Fillmore is forgotten? There’s little to spark even a muted guffaw or a sympathetic nod.
In the end, however, they all testify to something important: Presidents are only men (so far, anyway) and capable of every mortal weakness and weirdness. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)