Tuesday, April 7, 2009
What to Do About Alice
Kerley, Barbara. 2008. WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE?: HOW ALICE ROOSEVELT BROKE THE RULES, CHARMED THE WORLD, AND DROVE HER FATHER TEDDY CRAZY! Ill. by Edwin Fotheringham. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780439922319 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]
The bouncy text and energetic illustrations of this picture book biography give proper credence to the spirited Alice Roosevelt. Her unconventional antics will delight today’s readers as much as they did people of her day. As a girl, she taught her brothers and sisters how to slide down White House banisters, and she entertained dignitaries with her strange pets. Young lady Alice refused to settle down and marry, opting instead for trips to faraway and exotic places with escorts.
Girl readers may recognize a bit of their own fathers in Teddy Roosevelt, who tried but often failed to convince Alice to conform to more lady-like standards. All will appreciate Alice’s independent nature, and many readers will be inspired to find out more about this young heroine.
With the two Obama daughters’ arrival to the White House, there should be many topics for discussion springing from this book. What are the pros and cons of growing up in the public eye? Are the children of Presidents held to a higher standard than most? These topics will make interesting springboards for comparative, persuasive, and even imaginative writing assignments.
Other picture books about Presidential children:
Coulter, Laurie. WHEN JOHN AND CAROLINE LIVED IN THE WHITE HOUSE: PICTURE BOOK. ISBN 9780786806249
McCullough, Noah. FIRST KIDS: THE TRUE STORIES OF ALL THE PRESIDENTS’ CHILDREN. ISBN 9780545033695
Staton, Rabin. MR. LINCOLN’S BOYS. ISBN 9780670061693
By Rebecca S. McKee