A noteworthy review of Our Presidents from Children's Literature on January 1, 2002
This entry in the well-written ‘Our Presidents’ series provides an overview of William Howard Taft’s life, early years in Ohio, rise to political life, and important aspects of his presidency, including his role in building the Panama Canal and his unfortunate battles with Theodore Roosevelt, who later formed his own Bull Moose Party from fragments of Taft’s Republican Party. A variety of photographs show his family, early career, and official government activities as well as his wife, Nellie. Other outtake pages include information about Taft’s very political family, his life in the Philippines as part of a commission, and his weight problems. Sidebars include interesting facts and picture captions are informative and lengthy enough to inform casual browsers. Each book in the series ends with a glossary defining highlighted words in the text, a timeline specific to the president’s life, a complete table of presidents through George W. Bush with their home states, life spans, presidential spans, political party and the name of their first ladies. Also included are a page of ‘Presidential Facts,’ numerous web sites and relevant suggested other resources, as well as an index. All in all, it’s a strong, informative, and very readable contribution to the literature about presidents for upper elementary and middle school readers.