Blog

The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Presidents in Picture Books

Posted about 8 days ago by Eric P

As a country without any official royalty of its own (Beyonce notwithstanding), the United States of America has always been preoccupied – even infatuated – with presidents and their families.

It is, therefore, not news that there’s no shortage of reading material about the presidency, especially during an election year. But you may be surprised – I was, anyway – at how many kids’ picture books about presidents there are.

(But there are almost no picture books about Senators or Attorneys General! C’mon, publishing industry. Thirty thousand picture books about bears but not a single one about county auditors?)

Many presidential picture books revolve around fictional occupants of the executive branch and the fictional kids who meet them – or are them.

Cover of Grace for President Grace for President
book   |   ebook
Cover of When Penny Met POTUS When Penny Met POTUS
Cover of Mr President Goes to School Mr President Goes to School
Cover of Madam President Madam President
Cover of Madeline at the White House Madeline at the White House
Cover of Arthur Meets the President Arthur Meets the President
Cover of President Pennybaker President Pennybaker
Cover of Now Hiring: White House Dog Now Hiring: White House Dog

And some books involve animals and other creatures who aspire to the presidency, or achieve it, but don’t let these books fool you: according to the Constitution, dogs, lions, Muppets, and aquatic invertebrates are not eligible to be president. Unless they serve in the House of Representatives first.

Cover of Snoopy for President Snoopy for President
Cover of The President of the Jungle The President of the Jungle
Cover of Woodrow for President Woodrow for President
Cover of President Squid President Squid
Cover of Buddy for President Buddy for President
Cover of Dubs Runs for President Dubs Runs for President
Cover of I Want to be President I Want to be President

And then there are the picture books that feature actual American presidents. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few with George Washington, ‘cause you know how that guy is, he’s always gotta be first with everything:

Cover of John, Paul, George and Ben John, Paul, George and Ben
Cover of Dear Mr Washington Dear Mr Washington
Cover of George Washington’s Birthday George Washington’s Birthday
Cover of George Washington’s Cows George Washington’s Cows
Cover of Take the Lead, George Washington! Take the Lead, George Washington!
Cover of The House That George Built The House That George Built
Cover of The Escape of Oney Judge The Escape of Oney Judge
Cover of Independence Cake Independence Cake
Cover of Hanukkah at Valley Forge Hanukkah at Valley Forge

Maybe even less surprising is the number of picture books with Abraham Lincoln, not including the children’s classic “The Cat in the Stovepipe Hat,” which I just made up.

Cover of Abe Lincoln’s Dream Abe Lincoln’s Dream
Cover of Abe’s Honest Words Abe’s Honest Words
Cover of Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln
Cover of Hope’s Gift Hope’s Gift
Cover of Abe’s Fish Abe’s Fish
Cover of How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln
Cover of A. Lincoln and Me A. Lincoln and Me
Cover of Finding Lincoln Finding Lincoln
Cover of Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek
Cover of Mr Lincoln’s Whiskers Mr Lincoln’s Whiskers
Cover of Abe Lincoln: His Wit and Wisdom from A to Z Abe Lincoln: His Wit and Wisdom from A to Z
Cover of Abe Lincoln: the Boy Who Loved Books Abe Lincoln: the Boy Who Loved Books

Now, Washington and Lincoln, you expect a lot of books about them. They have monuments and cities and cars named after them. But would anyone have predicted that there would be more than one picture book featuring that beloved children’s character President William Howard Taft?

Cover of President Taft is Stuck in the Bath President Taft is Stuck in the Bath
Cover of The President and Mom’s Apple Pie The President and Mom’s Apple Pie

A more natural fit for children’s literature might be Teddy Roosevelt, who combines the bumptious brashness of Mo Willems’s Pigeon with the facial hair of the late Wilford Brimley.

Cover of To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt
Cover of You’re On Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt! You’re On Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt!
Cover of Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt! Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt!

And then there are the rest of the presidents, or as the guy who made Mount Rushmore liked to call them, “Those guys I don’t have time for.”

Cover of Breakfast at the Liberty Diner Breakfast at the Liberty Diner
Cover of Jack’s Path of Courage: the Life of John F. Kennedy Jack’s Path of Courage: the Life of John F. Kennedy
Cover of Hard Work but It’s Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter Hard Work but It’s Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter
Cover of Parker Looks Up Parker Looks Up
Cover of First Pup First Pup
Cover of What Presidents Are Made Of What Presidents Are Made Of
Cover of P is for President P is for President
Cover of So You Want to be President So You Want to be President
book   |   eaudio
Cover of The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About the Presidents The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About the Presidents
Cover of Rutherford B., Who Was He? Poems About Our Presidents Rutherford B., Who Was He? Poems About Our Presidents
Cover of Who Named His Pony Macaroni? Poems About the White House Pets Who Named His Pony Macaroni? Poems About the White House Pets
Cover of The Buck Stops Here: The Presidents of the United States The Buck Stops Here: The Presidents of the United States