cover image VOTE!


Eileen Christelow, . . Clarion, $16 (47pp) ISBN 978-0-618-24754-7

Young readers curious about politics will say "yea" to this well-executed book, which effectively explains the nuances of the election process using a small-town mayoral campaign as an example. Two wisecracking pooches and the candidate's daughter act as pint-size political commentators, describing each step in easy-to-grasp language ("Political parties are like clubs for voters who share similar ideas." "Ideas about what?" "About government, schools, health care, environment"). The somewhat goofy subplot concerning the pooches' interactions (e.g., one pup rushes the stage during a debate to demand why canines can't vote, sparking the local newspaper's headline "Debate Goes to the Dogs!") dovetails nicely with Christelow's (Where's the Big Bad Wolf?; the Five Little Monkeys books) line-drawn comic strip–style panel illustrations. She uses dialogue balloons and related asides among characters (one couple discusses which candidate is best) to deliver extra information about such topics as voting rights, political fundraising, registration and voter apathy. (A timeline of voting rights, a glossary of terms and other resources bring the book to a close.) The story builds to election night, when, in an au courant twist, the winning candidate faces a recount. This accessible introduction to elections may well inspire future lever-pulling in the voting booth—and could serve as a strong kickoff to the 2004 election year. Ages 6-10. (Aug.)