The Book of Presidents

Title: The Book of Presidents
Author: Orville V. Webster
Pages: 128
Reading Level: 9 – 14
Star Rating: ★★★★

Hi there! As of October 2013, I have upgraded to a new site – The Blithering Bookster – where I have posted all of my old reviews and continue to post new ones. Hoist yourself over to join the fun!

—–

I’ve recently begun to look upon listing all the names of the Presidents as a sort of hobby – an entertainment, a tour de force. However, I was unable to list them in chronological order – until I read The Book of Presidents and memorized their order in one sitting. #yesimproud

Anyway, that was just a side effect. The book itself follows a definite pattern – the name of the president was presented, then the years of his service as President. Next came his nickname (or motto, whichever was more popular), then the dates of his birth and death. Thence followed a two-to-five page biography of the president. His life in a nutshell, so to speak.

Of course, having been published in 1991, The Book of Presidents fell rather short of the description “up-to-date”. The book ends with President “George Bush” (no H. or W. in sight! Shocking.) However, its reports on the other Presidents were not falsified by this lack of foresight. :)

Here are a few interesting facts

  • Abigail Adams is the only woman in U.S. history to be the wife of one President and the mother of another.
  • When he died in 1836, James Madison was the last surviving signer of the Constitution.
  • Of the five Presidents who participated in the American War for Independence, three of them – Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe – died on a Fourth of July.
  • Andrew Jackson participated in approximately 100 duels during his lifetime.
  • Martin Van Buren was the first President born after the United States became an independent nation.
  • William Henry Harrison is known for having given the longest inaugural address in U.S. history – it consisted of 8,578 words and lasted for one hour and forty-five minutes – and for having the shortest Presidential term!
  • John Tyler’s second wife was thirty years younger than himself.
  • One of Zachary Taylor’s daughters married Jefferson Davis!
  • Ulysses S. Grant finished his autobiography just four days before his death.
  • Garfield was able to write with both of his hands simultaneously – in different languages!
  • Teddy Roosevelt was the first President to leave U.S. soil while in office. He was also the first President to ride in an automobile, fly in an airplane, and submerge in a submarine.
  • Franklin Roosevelt was related to eleven former U.S. Presidents.
  • Gerald Ford was the first man to become President without having run for the office of either President or Vice-President.

Lincoln haters should be informed that, although practically nothing is said about the War Between the States, Lincoln is referred to as “one of the greatest men in all American history.” [pg. 51]

Conclusion. An excellent resource.

Davy Crockett / Daniel Boone

Title: Davy Crockett / Daniel Boone
Author: Naunerle C. Farr
Pages: 63
Recommended Ages: 8 & up
Star Rating: ★★★★

Hi there! As of October 2013, I have upgraded to a new site – The Blithering Bookster – where I have posted all of my old reviews and continue to post new ones. Hoist yourself over to join the fun!

—–

In this installment of the Pendulum Illustrated Biography Series, Naunerle C. Farr and Fred Carrillo bring to life the lives of the heroic frontiersmen Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. (I could not find a picture of the book, so I found pictures of Boone [right] and Crocket [below].)

I have already outlined the life of Davy Crockett in my review of the Childhood of Famous Americans version, and I will save a synopsis of Daniel Boone’s life for a larger book. But I will make a few comments about the format of this book.

Although told in comic-strip format, I found the content to be serious. The illustrations were very life-like (there were no distortions or sillyfying), and instead of detracting from the text, I felt that they complimented it nicely.

Another thing that I liked is that Ms. Farr did not shy away from using difficult words in her text. But she did not leave them undefined – each difficult word has an asterisk by it which denotes a definition at the bottom of the page.

One new thing that I learned about Davy Crockett is that there was one year in which he killed one hundred and five bears. That’s an average of about one bear every three-and-a-half days.

Conclusion. Good.