Editorial Review

A noteworthy review of Our Presidents from Children's Literature on January 1, 2002

This entry in the well-written ‘Our Presidents’ series provides an overview of John Tyler’s life, a mention of his sickly childhood and early years in Virginia, his staunch support of state rights, and his rise in politics. The text also covers Tyler’s assumption of the presidency following the death of William Henry Harrison and mentions his fifteen children by two wives. The book presents the controversies that continued to brew—states’ rights versus a strong central government, the acquisition of territory and the role of slavery, and the quelling of Native American uprisings. Several photographs exist of Polk and his wife but many illustrations are taken from art and cartoons of the day. One-page sections include one about a ghost story and a fascinating one about the first campaign to use entertainment and insults (and ‘spin,’ though it’s not called that here). Sidebars add interesting facts and picture captions are informative and lengthy enough to inform casual browsers. Each book in the series ends with a glossary defining highlighted words in the text, a timeline specific to the president’s life, a complete table of presidents through George W. Bush with their home states, life spans, presidential spans, political party and the name of their first ladies. Included are a page of ‘Presidential Facts’ and numerous web sites and relevant suggested other resources, as well as an index. All in all, it’s a strong, informative, and very readable contribution to the literature about presidents for upper elementary and middle school readers.

—Susan Hepler

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