My Dad, John McCain
Simon & Schuster can’t be accused of partisan politics this election season: it is issuing flattering, unabashedly biased picture book biographies of three main players.
No one would expect John and Cindy McCain’s oldest daughter to be objective—on the other hand, some personal touch would have been nice. She does talk a lot about family, that is, about the wartime services of McCain ancestors, all the way back to the Revolutionary War; McCain’s pedigree as the son and grandson of admirals; the military duty of two McCain sons. Given this emphasis, it’s odd to have omitted any mention of McCain’s first family; it’s not as if the concepts of ex-wives and half-sisters are unfamiliar to the target audience. The one truly moving section details McCain’s heroism under captivity in North Vietnam; the rest succumbs to an apple-pie variety of blandness. Meghan McCain discloses that her father loves his country and also that he “never gives up,” whether he’s playing on the boarding school football team or “fighting for what he believes in.” Andreasen (Pilot Pups ) steeps his accomplished, mostly realistic pictures in nostalgia: cross-hatching suggests old-time engraving, while burnished tones hint at antiqued colors. A number of spreads represent photos and newspapers—the effect is oddly distancing, as if Meghan McCain were flipping through someone else’s scrapbook. Ages 5–10. (Sept.)