The latest installment of the For Kids series examines the history and functions of the United States Congress.
Noting low approval ratings Congress receives from many Americans, Reis encourages readers to see what an amazing institution Congress is, pointing out its role in overthrowing slavery, giving women the right to vote, making strides in civil rights and challenging executive branch authority. Chapter 1—“Unfinished Business: Congress and Slavery”—opens with a lively account of Preston Brooks’ attack on Sen. Charles Sumner on the eve of the Civil War, and following chapters continue the focus on volatile issues facing Congress and American society since our government’s founding—creating the judicial system, enacting the Bill of Rights, seeking a policy on immigration, impeaching presidents and investigating potential dangers to American society. Unfortunately, this volume, like others in the series, is trapped by its “For Kids” formula, as the historical content is well-suited for an older, middle school audience while many of the activities are for younger kids: Create your own “Congressional Money,” make a capital for a Capitol column using paper-towel cores and yogurt cups, and create a Capitol dome using toothpicks and gumdrops. Backmatter includes an excellent guide to websites for kids, and the bibliography notes books suitable for young readers.
A well-written, extensive history that doesn’t seem to know its audience. (afterword, source notes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)