|If you want a friend in Washington|
Author: McGill, Erin
A clever, funny, and informative look at the pets--from Calvin Coolidge's wallaby to Teddy Roosevelt's flying squirrels--that have passed through the White House gates.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/15/20)
School Library Journal (+) (06/01/20)
Booklist (+) (05/01/20)
The Hornbook (00/07/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/01/2020 *Starred Review* As Harry S. Truman (may have) said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” And indeed, many presidents “found a friend in Fido,” McGill writes, following a spread positively teeming with tiny, individualized doggy portraits—all named, or at least labeled, from “Drunkard Washington” to “Bo & Sonny Obama.” But other First Families went for cats, horses, birds, livestock of various sorts, or even alligators and other wild animals, all of which are likewise laid out in populous galleries between pages of anecdotal commentary that is at least, as the author puts it, “rooted in fact.” Alligators? Yes, John Quincy Adams had one, and Herbert Hoover’s son Allan owned two. Billy Coolidge was a pygmy hippo, Martin Van Buren received two tiger cubs from the Sultan of Oman, Andrew Jackson owned a foul-mouthed parrot, and Thomas Jefferson used to harmonize on the violin with his mockingbird Dick. Celebrity cow Pauline Wayne Taft posed for one of the 17 photos on the endpapers. A closing tally of presidential pets (only two officeholders, including the current one, have had none) highlights the fact that the White House was often as much a menagerie as a residence. A fetching sidelight on U.S. history. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2020 K-Gr 3—This funny and informative book about the pets of U.S. presidents begins with a famous quote attributed to President Truman: "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." Of all the U.S. presidents, only James K. Polk, Andrew Johnson, and Donald Trump did not have pets, while Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy had some of the most unusual and largest menageries. Rather than moving from president to president and listing the pets each owned, the book organizes the pets into categories, with a cute illustration and the name of the creature and the presidential surname. A humorous spread shows all the dogs owned by the presidents, with the largest number of dogs owned by George Washington. Plenty of presidents have had dogs, cats, horses, and birds, but many also had farm animals (including goats, sheep, and chickens) and more exotic creatures (bear cubs, alligators, a wallaby, and a pygmy hippo). The final pages list all the presidents in order with the names of their pets, and end pages include vintage photographs. VERDICT Although the ending is a bit abrupt, this story contains fascinating facts with charming illustrations—perfect for conveying historical tidbits to young children.—Sally James, South Hillsborough Elem. Sch., Hillsborough, CA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.