So You Want to Be President? takes a humorous look at the lives, personalities, and commonalities among the first 42 presidents. A basic, non-fiction overview of the presidency, geared toward mid-to-late elementary schools.
The book was written by Judith St. George, who wrote over 40 books – both fiction and biographies for children focused on American History. She published her first book in 1970, and the last in 2009 – a forty year writing career! Judith St. George passed away in 2015 at the age of 84.
The illustrations in So You Want to Be President? are humorous, full of fun details. David Small is one of my favorite illustrators, and he has been nominated for the Caldecott Medal two other times – once for The Gardener (written by his wife, Sarah Small) in 1998 and then again in 2013 for One Cool Friend (written by Toni Buzzeo). He has illustrated over 30 books, 8 of which he also wrote. He has illustrated six books written by his wife, and I must admit those are my favorite.
So You Want to Be President? suffers from one common problem of historical surveys – it was almost immediately out of date. The line that “No person of color has ever been President” seems especially egregious. I wouldn’t choose it to read to a class or kids today for that reason – I’d rather have something up-to-date, or focused on just one historical President. But the illustrations don’t disappoint!
One of my Life List goals is to read all of the Caldecott winners. This is my eighth post about a Caldecott book. You can read the other Caldecott posts here.