Monday, February 20, 2017

Grover Cleveland, Again! by Ken Burns & Illus by Gerald Kelley

This is a pretty cool book! Ken Burns used to put his daughters to bed by repeating the lineup of American presidents. Apparently his daughters always said, "Grover Cleveland, AGAIN!" and giggled every time he came to that part. He told them that one day he would write a book about the presidents and call it that. So here it is.  

Each president has a two page spread, with facts in the blue banner, a short biographical blurb in the middle and random facts about the president or his time in the red. I love the set up, but I feel like the facts were a little... well known. They discuss the cherry tree "I cannot tell a lie" tale, his teeth, England as a ruler and how the colonies became states. 

But for young kids, they might be just right. I was hoping for more intriguing facts. I mean, Ken Burns...! But the facts are mostly pretty good. 

Ole T-Jeff was the inventor of the lazy susan and swivel chairs. 

I did not know that. 

Ulysses S. Grant was originally called Hiram Grant. When he went to West Point, they mistakenly registered him as US Grant, which he liked. So he changed his name. 

There he is! AGAIN! Only President to be married in office or to have non-consecutive terms. 

TR--gave an hour long speech with a chest wound.  

Harding has a fairly nice handling actually. He is generally hailed as one of our worst presidents, but Burns doesn't seem to see him in that way.  

FDR-the man in a wheelchair who was hardly ever photographed in a wheelchair.  

JFK--the catholic president who was so charming on TV

LBJ was a bit of a bully.

Gerald Ford threatened to quit his college football team when they agreed to keep his roommate (a black) from playing against a southern team. His roommate told him to play, so he played and won the game for his roommate. 

And he was clumsy.

HW parachuted to safety in WWII, so he celebrated his 80th, 85th and 90th birthdays by jumping out of a plane.  

And Obama. Who promised his daughters they could get a puppy if he became president. 

This is a pretty awesome resource for kids who are interested in history or kids who need some background on a particular president. 

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