This looks like a picture book but it's really a history-and-government lesson, tracing the development of the cabinet from Washington on. Each president who added to or changed the cabinet in any way is allotted one page, which is split between a cartoon of the post under discussion and a paragraph noting the conditions that led to its creation and the names and duties of the first secretary. For review, Parker surveys today's twelve departments with a summary (again in a paragraph) of the functions of each. Her comfortable style makes for a painless lesson, but the vocabulary is not as limited as the format would lead you to expect. Her illustrations are sometimes amusing (Labor splitting off from Commerce, the War and Navy departments tied together in Defense), sometimes offkey (War is represented pulling a little toy cannon on a string), but their droll mood is gratuitous and overall they give the impression of an excess of sugar-coating.