Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Summary: Many years ago, Ken Burns used to recite the names of the U.S. presidents to his four daughters. When he got to #24, the girls would say, “Grover Cleveland, again!” He resolved then to write a book about the presidents for kids, and we now have the result of that. Each two-page spread includes a chatty summary of that president’s term in office, a few highlighted facts, and a sidebar with fast facts such as family members, nickname, and pets. There’s a large illustration covering both pages, plus a portrait at the top of the sidebar. The last few pages include a glossary and a list of presidential birthplaces, libraries, museums, and historic sites arranged by state. 96 pages; grades 5 and up.
Pros: This is a great book to browse or read cover to cover. Burns uses his down-to-earth style to make each president’s history accessible to young readers. The fast facts would be helpful for report writing.
Cons: Burns doesn’t always write an unbiased account (Under Calvin Coolidge: “I believe that one of the best things the government can do is help people when their friends and neighbors can’t…”). An astute reader will probably be able to guess who the author is hoping to write about for President #45.