Reviews for Presidential Pets : The Weird, Wacky, Little, Big, Scary, Strange Animals That Have Lived in the White House

Booklist Reviews 2012 July #1
Books on presidential trivia are not in short supply, but this one, offering funny rhyming prose alongside relatable trivia facts, distinguishes itself with laugh-out-loud illustrations. Readers will be smitten with the images of Thomas Jefferson nonchalantly walking his two bear cubs on leashes, an angry Andrew Jackson arguing with his foul-mouthed parrot, and Theodore Roosevelt's prized dog, Pete, biting an unassuming French ambassador in the backside. Forty-three anecdotes are included, and each is introduced with a clever poem that is perfectly suited for read-alouds. Lists of accomplishments and basic statistics for each president are also included, and although the book is not tremendously comprehensive, it is notably up-to-date, including the takedown of Osama bin Ladin in Barack Obama's section. The mixture of straight nonfiction text, rhythmic verse, and vibrant graphics make this a versatile addition to any collection or classroom in need of a presidential trivia tome. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Double-page spreads devoted to each of the forty-three presidents and their White House pets feature an introductory poem, biographical statistics, and bulleted, random facts. The lively, cartoonish caricatures fail to rescue the amateurish rhymes and selective, often trivial information. History fans and pet lovers may glean snippets of information but will find no back matter for further direction. Ind.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 June #2
When you're the president's pet, who walks you, empties your litter box or scrapes off your perch? Readers who hunger for information about the nonhumans who've lived at the White House over the years won't learn the answer to those questions, but they will discover that all our chief executives but one, from Washington to Obama, have owned a variety of pets--and, in some cases, been owned by them. In addition to the familiar dogs, cats and birds, some unusual First Animals have included goats, mice, bears, zebras, hyenas, lions, snakes, rats and tigers. Another question that goes unanswered in this book is why the information about presidential pets is conveyed through verse--verse that's not very good and frequently scans poorly at that; how appropriate that the word doggerel already exists, or it would have had to be coined just for this occasion. Brief details about each president's life and term, a "Tell Me More!" feature with tidbits of trivia, and highlights of each president's term in office supplement the pet facts. The two-page spreads include lively, humorous caricatures. The simplistic trivia items are generally interesting and amusing, but there are no sources to verify some of the statements. Rhymes without reason and no reason for the rhymes. Strictly for browsers and skimmers. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 April #5

From Washington to Obama, Moberg explores U.S. presidents' relationships with various animals while giving background about each commander in chief's term in office, accomplishments, and other tidbits. Each spread opens with brief verses that, with their awkward rhymes and rhythms, are the weakest part of this project (Abigail Adams's "mixed-breed dog,/ Much to everyone's chagrin,/ Was unfortunately given/ The odd name Satan"). The best part: the sheer quantity of information provided about the presidents and such memorable animals as Andrew Jackson's foul-mouthed parrot, Poll, or Calvin Coolidge's raccoon, Rebecca, which was fed "green shrimp, chicken, eggs (her favorite), and expensive cream." Albrecht's digital cartoons have an exaggerated, frenetic energy that keeps the mood light. Ages 8-up. (July)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 July

Gr 3-5--This is a great introduction to presidential history by way of looking at pets that have lived in the White House, from alligators to pigs and everything in between. Filled with goofy illustrations that will pull kids in, the book is well organized, with each president receiving a colorful spread. Each entry opens with a humorous rhyming poem that describes an event with the pet, which usually has historical significance, and includes "Presidential Stats"-basic information about the man's personal life and term. A "Tell Me More!" box offers a mix of about five pieces of trivia about the president and the animal he lived with. For example, the entry on Grant speaks of his ponies, dog, and parrot, but also talks about how he was the first president to run against a woman and then briefly discusses Victoria Woodhull. "Accomplishments & Events" has three or four items listed. Moberg uses humor, trivia, and children's innate love of animals to bring to life the presidents and the history that surrounded their time in office. This is a book that readers can come back to over and over, enjoying different aspects of it each time and in a different order.--Kerry Roeder, The Brearley School, New York City

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