Worthy intentions squandered on simplistic exhortations.

An enthusiastic invitation to understand and use our constitutional right to speak out.

Gliding silently over the real-world fact that First Amendment rights apply to minors only in qualified ways, two legal experts who specialize in defending journalists blithely assure young readers in rhyme that they are not only “free to be quiet and free to be LOUD,” but also to pray where they will, to “sign your name to a letter,” to march in protest, to join groups (or not), and to “talk and debate about people in power.” Many will note that a claim that “Freedom belongs to all—even when what we hear sounds icky” leaves an open door for bullying and even unprotected hate speech. (Christy Mihaly and Manu Montoya’s otherwise more nuanced and perceptive Free for You and Me, 2020, similarly overlooks this potential violation of equal protection under the law.) The illustrations collage together a small smiley-face character with arms and a tail with photos of bright-faced, diverse children posing in tights and capes and such iconic First Amendment images as protest marches and the Bill of Rights and other founding documents. They are more decorative than demonstrative, and the closing historical note is not only nearly illegible, being printed in tiny dark type on a blue background, but includes at least one defunct URL.

Worthy intentions squandered on simplistic exhortations. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947951-27-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: City Point Press/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020



A pleasingly lucid look at a complicated relationship, it should prove revelatory to an audience unaccustomed to such nuance.

Though John Adams and Thomas Jefferson “...were as different as pickles and ice cream,” they were able to work together to fight for America’s independence—for a while.

In the late 1770s, they developed conflicting ideas about government and aligned with opposing political parties. When John Adams was elected as the second U.S. president, Jefferson was elected vice president. This exacerbated their rocky relationship, and when Jefferson was ultimately elected president over Adams, their friendship ended. Over a decade would pass before they spoke again. The team that created George Did It (2005) now brings to light both the trials and tribulations of these two notable leaders and the turbulence of early American politics. Energetic watercolor-and-pencil drawings accurately represent the late 18th century, showing the dress, style and architecture of the period. Feisty narration paired with amusing illustrations makes light of sticky situations, as when Jefferson physically restrains an angry Adams from assaulting King George and Adams moves himself out of the White House in the dead of night. Although quotations are not specifically sourced, the selected bibliography reveals a wealth of research, including several primary sources.

A pleasingly lucid look at a complicated relationship, it should prove revelatory to an audience unaccustomed to such nuance. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-525-47903-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011


A sunny opener for more-nuanced overviews like Judith St. George and David Small’s classic So You Want to Be President...

A starter volume for newly independent readers curious about what presidents of the U.S. are supposed to do.

Singer presents both the basic responsibilities—meeting foreign leaders, working with Congress to pass laws, being in charge of the armed forces that “keep Americans safe”—and steady rounds of public appearances and speeches. She also lays out presidential qualifications (the Constitutional sort, anyway: “You must be at least 35 years old. No kids allowed!”), explains how election campaigns and voting work, and offers quick tours of Washington, D.C., and the White House. Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and a few other presidents from the distant past make cameos, but most of the big, bright photos feature Barack Obama and his immediate predecessors. A quiz and an invitation to presidential wannabes to answer the question “What would you do for the country?” close this presidential primer.

A sunny opener for more-nuanced overviews like Judith St. George and David Small’s classic So You Want to Be President (2000) or the newest edition of Eyewitness: Presidents (2017). (index, reading guide for parents) (Informational early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4654-5749-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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