The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents

Kate Messner, illus. by Adam Rex. Chronicle, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4521-7488-4
Messner (Chirp) and Rex (Pluto Gets the Call) open with a flyleaf bookplate that reads not “This Book Belongs to” but rather “This Country Belongs to.” It’s emblematic of their core idea that “the presidents of tomorrow are always out there somewhere.” Ingeniously structured around inaugural years, the book’s softly textured digital vignettes are montaged to give a sense of events unfolding in many places and lives at once: “At the time of Washington’s inauguration... Presidents 8, 9, and 12 were all kids.” Two spreads illustrate that when William McKinley (the 25th president) took office in 1897, Teddy Roosevelt (26th) was assistant secretary of the Navy, Herbert Hoover (31st) was running a gold mine in Australia, while Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th), age seven, was helping out in the family creamery and playing baseball. Throughout, this timeline treatment shows how some future presidents have clearly and intently waited in the wings, while others could not seem further from the Oval Office. By the time the authors wrap with a variously inclusive spread reading “at least ten of our future presidents are probably alive today,” readers may be convinced that the future is wide open—presidentially speaking. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/02/2020
Release date: 03/24/2020
Genre: Children's
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