cover image Vote for Me!

Vote for Me!

Martin Baltscheit, illus. by Marc Boutavant. Eerdmans, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5543-5

A supremely confident lion always runs unopposed for president; one suspects that his postvote parties, where the animals get “as much cake and strawberry-coconut juice as they wanted,” play a part in his success. But when a mouse quite reasonably asks, “What’s the point of elections if we can’t choose between several candidates?” she triggers a deluge of candidacies with self-interested platforms. The cat promises that “you will always have fresh mice to eat”; the fox pleads to “end all borders” while eyeing the fence around the chicken coop. The vote is split so many ways that every candidate but the lion wins. But instead of coalition building, mayhem ensues: the pictures, which up to this point have resembled witty, vintage nursery murals, devolve into a scary, scorched no-man’s land where it’s eat or be eaten. Amid “all the chaos and unhappiness,” the lion offers everyone the chance to “start over” by voting for him—and he wins yet again, unanimously. There are certainly more rousing endorsements of democracy available to readers, but Baltscheit and Boutavant (the Ariol series) successfully inject realpolitik into the election picture book genre. Ages 4–8. [em](Apr.) [/em]