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 James Polk’s life, a mention of his sickly childhood and early years in North Carolina and Tennessee, his friendship with Andrew Jackson and his calculated rise in politics. The text also covers his expansionist views that resulted in the addition of Texas and the Oregon Territory to America. Several photographs exist of Polk and his wife but many illustrations are taken from art and cartoons of the day. One-page sections include one about Texas and the Alamo battle and another about the Mexican War. 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. Included are a page of ‘Presidential Facts’ and 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.