Lucidon’s adaptation of her adult book Chasing Light (2017) for the kindergarten-to–second-grade set aims for the photographic splendor of Pete Souza’s Dream Big Dreams (2017), which celebrates what made the Obama administration both historic and extraordinary.
The author gives context for the first lady’s roles as well as the role of a White House photographer and the White House itself, including descriptions of the storied hued rooms. Within that framework, Lucidon shows Michelle Obama performing her duties inside and outside what she called “the People’s House.” However, it’s arguable that enough books exist detailing the duties and the building. What readers likely want from this book is to understand what exactly made Obama’s tenure as incredible as her husband’s. For example, the author calls Obama “Visitor-in-Chief,” but she most famously called herself “Mom-in-Chief” and validated many black mothers in a national discourse that constantly denigrates them. Considering this, it’s regrettable that the book includes relatively few photos of Obama with her family. Other missed opportunities abound, as when Lucidon fails to explain why black girls dancing under Lincoln’s portrait is significant in light of Obama’s first ladyship even as she acknowledges it is “a special moment in history.”
With Souza’s book, this could have bookended the Obama years. But it’s more of a bookend and a paperweight. (Nonfiction. 4-7)