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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 James A. Garfield, early years in Ohio’s Western Reserve, his Civil War activities, his beliefs that Reconstruction should make Confederates sorry for their actions, his rise to the presidency after the assassination of James A. Garfield, and his accomplishments in office. A variety of photographs show his family, early career and official government activities. Separate insert pages include a note about Garfield’s rules for living, the problems of newly freed slaves in owning property, and a fascinating anecdote about the metal detector, a new invention at the time, that could have located Garfield’s infected bullet but signals from the (newly-invented) bedsprings interfered with the signal. Other interesting facts are included in sidebars 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. Also included are a page of ‘Presidential Facts,’ 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 available to upper elementary and middle school readers.

—Susan Hepler

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