cover image Patrick and the President

Patrick and the President

Ryan Tubridy, illus. by P.J. Lynch. Candlewick, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8949-0

In his first children’s book, Irish media personality Tubridy returns to the subject of his 2011 adult book, JFK in Ireland, with this story of a fictional boy’s encounter with the U.S. president during Kennedy’s four-day trip to Ireland in 1963. Lynch (The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower) recreates the era and setting in startlingly lifelike watercolor paintings brimming with emotion and suffused with light. Freckle-faced Patrick and his parents are elated when they hear that “Himself” will be visiting their town and the nearby Kennedy ancestral homestead. When Patrick’s teacher announces that the students will sing for Kennedy when he lands at the airport, the children’s excitement simmers, boiling over as the president disembarks from his helicopter; they “suddenly sang louder—reaching deeper and deeper for every note”—and Kennedy joins in. It’s an uplifting imagined episode that reflects the way an encounter with fame can energize an entire community. An afterword delves into the details of Kennedy’s visit, including the itinerary of his trip. Ages 6–9. (Feb.)