A bounteous buffet of historical tidbits about the presidential digs and its residents.
Flynn’s heaping helpings of anecdotes, legends, facts, firsts, foods, and statistics are gathered into 40 digestible (if sometimes thematically diffuse) groupings—from “25 Facts About Rooms That Rock” to “15 Cool Facts About Everyday Life at the White House.” These infobits are set into numbered circles or boxes that are arranged on each spread in rough chronological order. Along with notes on presidential pets and perks, White House ghosts, furnishings, refurbishings, and events like state dinners and the Easter Egg Roll, the author offers nods to the original builders (some of whom were “African-American workmen, both enslaved and free”) as well as the cleaners, chefs, calligraphers, and other workers who keep the place functioning and safe. Aside, perhaps, from references to President Barack Obama’s inauguration crowd and the “80 official White House Twitter accounts,” she steers clear of controversial topics and keeps the tone cheerfully upbeat throughout. Aerial views of the White House grounds and interior (in an artfully selective cutaway) highlight a generous array of period images and photos in which people of color aren’t exactly prominent but are at least represented.
Tailor-made for browsing but with plenty of nutritious content for young historians and prospective visitors. (timeline, presidential roster) (Nonfiction. 8-13)