Where Do Presidents Come From?: And Other Presidential Stuff of Super-Great Importance

Michael Townsend. Dial, $14.99 paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-80373-748-8
In this cheerful, colorful book, Townsend introduces grade-schoolers to the lives and responsibilities of the president of the United States, as well as the constitutional separation of powers and the history of the White House. With the help of a pink bunny, some monkeys, and assorted other animals and children, he breezily walks readers through the early history of the country, from the Revolution through the Bill of Rights. Townsend is particularly good at explaining the complexities of the different branches of government in a clear, humorous manner. Throughout, the chaotic cartoon panels balance text with images well, making it easy to digest the large amount of information included in a relatively small space. An overlong section on the history of the White House drags, however. And Townsend seems to pick and choose when he will address complex, possibly upsetting material. He does not always steer away from difficult information, including the assassination of presidents and the fate of deserters during the Revolution. But his celebration of George Washington and the Constitution never mentions slavery. Ages 8–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/02/2012
Release date: 09/13/2012
Genre: Children's
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