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Notable Books

Notable Books | Four children's books

Issue: "The GOP and Hispanics," May 19, 2012

Woodrow for President: A Tail of Voting, Campaigns, and Elections

With Richard Scarry-like illustrations and words set in verse, the authors explain political campaigns and elections. Readers follow Woodrow G. Washingtail from birth to boyhood, college to marriage. "With your heart and your brains, we agree you'd be great," say his friends as they urge him to run for office. When Woodrow serves well, the mice elect him to ever higher positions until he's ready to run for president. The authors explain the meaning of volunteers, campaigns and political parties, primaries, debates, and party conventions. For added interest, children can search each page for the tiny mouse Secret Service agent hiding in the illustrations. This book is part of a series that includes a book about the Declaration of Independence.

Demolition

Demolition is a noisy book, sure to delight little people who love trucks and destruction. Its pages are filled with wrecking balls, bulldozers, and hydraulic shears. It's written with short, punchy sentences and vivid action words that fit the subject: "Work the jaws. Work the jaws. Bite and tear and slash. Dinosaurs had teeth like this! Rip! Roar! Crash!" At the story's beginning, the construction workers pull on their boots and put on their hardhats. A decrepit building with broken windows stands behind them. Step-by-step the book shows how the workers tear down the building, then sort, grind up, and recycle the materials, and build a playground in its place.

When You're a Pirate Dog and Other Pirate Poems

The poems in this captivating collection will turn even the most reluctant child into a lover of doggerel. The book features rollicking rhymes like this one from the title poem: "When you're a pirate dog, your life is free from troubles. They never put you in a tub with smelly soap and bubbles." Or this, from "Pirate Stew": "When told to feed a pirate crew, a pot of pirate stew will do. You'll need a kettle, big and rusty, thick with grime and rather dusty. Add a dozen buzzard eggs; sixty-seven spider legs; thick, congealing spotted eel; piles of spoiled banana peel." Illustrations of bulbous-nosed pirates with gap-toothed smiles accompany the poems.

The Flint Heart

The Patersons abridge Eden Phillpott's 1910 fantasy into a story appropriate as a read-aloud for younger children, or for upper elementary readers to read on their own. It begins thousands of years ago when a warrior wants to be a chief. A magician tells him he is too soft: To be chief you have to be "hardhearted as a wolf." So the warrior asks the magician to make him a charm to give him a hard heart-and he does. The rest of the fairy tale describes the evil wrought by the flint heart and how a young boy and his sister overcome it.

Spotlight

John Stott: The Humble Leader by Julia Cameron (Christian Focus, 2012) is lively and full of specific detail meant to appeal to young people who might not be familiar with Stott, the well-known pastor/theologian who died last year. The book includes stories of the theologian as a mischievous child, an avid birdwatcher, and a curate whose concern for poor people led him to spend several days in the 1950s as a homeless person so he could experience London from that perspective. Many of the stories come from long-time friends, who shared their recollections with Cameron. The biography shows Stott to be a visionary whose commitment to Scripture and the global church led him to disciple international students studying in London, train African pastors, and help begin the Lausanne Movement.

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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