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 James Buchanan’s life, early years in Pennsylvania, an ill-fated romance which left him a lifelong bachelor, and his steady rise to political power under many presidents before becoming one himself. No photographs of Buchanan are included but instead artwork depends on paintings, line drawings and etchings from the era. Outtake pages include one about Buchanan’s niece who served as his ‘first lady,’ the Dred Scott case, and the Mexican-American War. Sidebars include interesting facts and the 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.
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