Nice Work, Franklin! by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain, illustrations by Larry Day

 Published by Dial Books for Young Readers 

Summary:  Some presidents have faced personal challenges, some have faced national challenges, and some, as the author describes on the first page, have faced both.  She then goes on to a light-hearted introduction to Franklin Roosevelt, and how he aspired to be like his famous cousin Theodore.  He got off to a good start—young Franklin was rich, smart, and determined.  He soon was making a name for himself in the New York legislature and as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.  But shortly after his 39th birthday, he was struck with polio and paralyzed from the waist down.  Although he never recovered use of his legs, he learned to stand with braces and went on to become NY governor, then President of the United States.  And there he was faced with a national challenge, the Great Depression.  Using the same determination that helped him overcome polio, he worked hard to improve Americans’ lives.  The book ends with Roosevelt’s second term inauguration.  An author’s note gives more information about Roosevelt’s life and some of the programs he started during the Great Depression.  32 pages; ages 6-10.

Pros: This is the third book of U.S. history by this author-illustrator team (George Did It and The Worst of Friends are their other two).  Although the subject matter is serious, both the text and the illustrations are upbeat and humorous.  While Franklin Roosevelt comes off in a positive light, there is some balance in describing why some Americans didn’t like him as President.

Cons:  The book begins when Roosevelt is a young man and ends in early 1937, so this is not a complete biography.

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