The Weird, Wacky, Little, Big, Scary, Strange Animals That Have Lived in the White House
Illustrated by Jeff Albrecht Studios
An Imagine Book, Charlesbridge Publishing, 2012
In this kid’s book about presidential pets, the author has written a short poem for every president; she starts with George Washington and ends with Barrack Obama. Each presidential spread follows the same formula: poem, Presidential Stats (Term, First Lady, Vice President, Political Party, Born, Died, Occupation before Presidency, and nick name), Tell Me More (fun facts and trivia) and Accomplishments & Events (2-4 bullet pointed highlights of the administration). The majority of the print on this page is small so early readers may have difficulty with it, but the information is short and quirky enough to be enjoyable for older readers.
Opposite information page is a fun illustration of the pets and or the president!! These pictures are full of color and expression and are really, really funny. At the very end is an index so you can look up either the president, any mentioned family member, pet’s name or type of pet. And with all the reading I’ve done lately on Presidential Pets, the information is pretty accurate, at least as far as I can tell!
Wackiest White House Pets
Illustrated by David A. Johnson
Scholastic Press, 2004
According to the author there have been around 400 pets of all shapes and sizes that have lived in or near the White House. The usual dog, cats and horses make up the majority of those pets. However, this book focuses on some of the “wackier” pets our presidents have had. Some, we are told came to the First Families by way of various kings, queens and other notable foreign leaders; and others were basic farm animals that supplied the White House with necessities of milk, butter, eggs and so forth, so to someone living in the 2010s, having a cow grazing on the presidential lawn is a little wacky!!
A few of the notable wacky pets:
Abraham Lincoln’s son Tad grew attached to the Thanksgiving meal, a live turkey. Tad named him Jack and he was the first turkey to receive a presidential pardon.
Theodore Roosevelt had a literal menagerie with many dogs, cats, snakes, horses, guinea pigs, a parrot, lion, zebra, bears, hyena, and more!!!
William Taft loved his fresh milk every day and his cow Pauline Wayne provided it for him.
Calvin Coolidge was another president who had a whole ark of animals at the White House. Collies and other dogs, raccoons, birds, and sheep who kept the presidential lawn mowed during World War 1.
I really enjoyed this book – and learned a lot of interesting facts about the presidents! The illustrations are softly colored but wacky just like the pets. I particularly like the one of Calvin Coolidge in a shepherdesses get-up! Early readers may have difficulty with the small print, but it’s a great book for reading aloud and easily understood.
Both Books Rated: