DEAR MR. PRESIDENT by Sophie Siers

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A young boy weighs the pros and cons of building a wall in his bedroom.

In letters addressed “Dear Mr. President,” Sam describes his grievances with his big brother, “who exactly fits your description of an undesirable person”: He uses his cellphone at night “even though he isn’t allowed,” and “it keeps me awake.” His classmates are also talking about the president’s wall. “There didn’t seem to be many kids who thought it was a good idea,” but Sam whines that “They obviously don’t know what it’s like to share a room.” Subdued line-and-wash paintings show Sam learning about the Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China while his family tries to broker peace. Recurrent images of extraterrestrials indicate the unspoken context of undocumented immigrants. Dad says that “communication and negotiation are always preferable to separation” (implying, perhaps, that the concentration camps on the U.S.–Mexico border are a result of poor communication?), and the dispute is eventually settled when the big brother comforts Sam after a nightmare. While some children may see in Trump’s fascist blatherings a solution to their own domestic problems, the kindly, bemused tone this text, a New Zealand import via Canada, takes toward a humanitarian crisis feels jarringly inappropriate.

Despite good intentions, this story only makes xenophobia seem palatable. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-77147-391-0
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2019




MORE BY ANNE VILLENEUVE

ChildrenME, TOMA AND THE CONCRETE GARDEN by Andrew Larsen
by Andrew Larsen
ChildrenLOULA AND MISTER THE MONSTER by Anne Villeneuve
by Anne Villeneuve
ChildrenLOULA AND THE SISTER RECIPE by Anne Villeneuve
by Anne Villeneuve