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 Franklin Pierce’s life, early years in New Hampshire, his rise in law and politics, his unfortunate choice of wife who did not like life in Washington, the tragic loss of each of his three children, and his uneasy attempt at solving the slavery issues of his time. Photographs include several of Pierce and his wife but most are of artwork taken from paintings, cartoons, illustrations and other depictions of the era. Outtake pages include one about cost of items in 1829, Jane Pierce, and Pierce’s on-again, off-again religious faith. Sidebars include interesting facts and the 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.