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My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C. Hardcover – May 1, 2006

4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 1-5–Kennedy's introduction to the political process is clear, informative, and loaded with child appeal, in part due to the choice of narrator: his Portuguese Water Dog, Splash. This canine bundle of friendly, panting fun takes readers on a tour of monuments and then describes a typical day: staff discussion of an education bill, a ride in the underground tram between the Senate and the Capitol, a press conference, a committee meeting, and a floor vote. Children will appreciate Splash's joy at the snacks and time for outdoor catch along the way, as well as the strategic Woof when the committee reaches an impasse on the bill. While the swift and tidy resolution is clearly fictional, the actual process is rendered memorable through the presentation. Small's shifting perspectives capture the shimmering lights viewed from a moving tram, the glory of the soaring Capitol rotunda, the heartfelt affection in a beloved dog's eyes. Back matter includes information about Kennedy, Splash, and how a bill becomes a law. With its multicultural cast, nonpartisan viewpoint, and protagonist brimming with personality, this look inside the Beltway is a first choice for classrooms, tourists, and animal lovers everywhere.–Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. In this high-spirited if low-angled trot through the congressional halls of power, Splash (a Portuguese water dog, for those who dote on such details) follows his senatorial companion (who looks a lot like Senator Kennedy) through a typical day. Interspersed with such highlights as a romp on the Capitol's lawn and a ride on the underground tram that runs between the Capitol and the office building, the day features a press conference, photo ops, a heated conference committee discussion about an education bill, and an important vote. In sketchy watercolor views of, first, the puppy farm, and, later, the Capitol Hill area, Caldecott winner Small tones down his customary caricatures (though not entirely) to match the narrative's light, amiable tone. Capped by a precis of the legislative process, this book is a natural companion for Judith St. George's So You Want to Be President (2000). John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439650771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439650779
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.5 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Susan Hobbs on April 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have long been a lover and collector of children's literature. I am a former teacher and now have an almost 4 year old, hence an excuse to contribute to my ever expanding collection of children's lit. Since I share a home with a Portuguese Water Dog, I was intrigued to learn that Senator Kennedy had two of these fine canines and I pre-ordered the book. It arrived yesterday and I am quite pleased with it. The illustrations are whimsical and fabulous; Caldecott Medal winning artist, David Small doesn't disappoint. I was pleasantly surprised that this book not only conveyed an accurate portrayal of the personality of a "typical" PWD, it also clipped along at a satisfactory pace sharing with the reader some of the steps it takes for a bill to become a law. This is told as a "day in the life" of Senator Kennedy from his dog, Splash's perspective. You receive a bit of Senator Kennedy's political agenda, but in the most benign sense as the bill which is discussed in the book is an education bill. I truly enjoyed this book -- more than I anticipated. I read it to my daughter tonight, not sure if it would be too long and detailed to hold her attention at her young age. The subject matter intrigued her since it was about a Portie like Jetty (our PWD). She enjoyed the book and even looked through it afterwards, retelling the story (a sure sign that it will be a new favorite). I would definitely recommend this book to dog lovers (especially PWD owners) everywhere in addition to someone looking for a straightforward children's book about how a bill becomes a law or what it is like to be a member of Congress. Happy reading!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw a couple of reviews of people offended because Kennedy named his dog "Splash". I understand how someone might see that as a reference to Chappaquiddick, but that's a little immature, don't you think? Splash is a Portuguese Water Dog. WATER. SPLASH. Get it? The dog loves to swim. I'm a fellow PWD owner, which is why I got the book. It wasn't the best children's book ever, but it was fun and I was excited to see a PWD get the limelight. They are wonderful, loving, intelligent dogs!
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Format: Hardcover
I've always been a cat lover, so anything with dogs is a tough sell for me--regardless of who writes it. However, I also recognize the American legislative process is a tough sell for little kids.

Showing them what goes on through the perspective of a family pet helps them relate---and potentially get interested in the process. Splash talks with the audience at their level throughout the book text, building up a friendship between the subject of the book and the book reader.

Also helpful, this book avoids partisan battles, instead focusing on non-partisan civic involvement.

Kids who believe that their government is both important and interesting then have a greater opportunity of registering and regularly turning out to vote (any party every election) when they are older.
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Format: Hardcover
What a clever way to introduce young people to the workings of our government system. The illustrations and story are not only fun, but also provide a terrific overview of official Washington and how one Senator spends his days. The book will be a great resource for parents and teachers alike;youngsters are sure to enjoy it.
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Format: Hardcover
As a teacher of Grade 7, American History, I loved this book. What a wonderful teaching tool to enhance my subject and broaden the appeal of my students. I will use any "hook" to get my students to hopefully appreciate the government that we have. To learn why it( our democracy) is so important, the duties that we have as citizens to be well-educated, informed and diligent.

Thank you so much!!!

Sr. Ella Jane Bruen C.D.P.

Sacred Heart Intermediate School

Kingston, Ma. 02364
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Senator and Me is an informative tale humorously told through the eyes of Senator Kennedy's Portuguese Water dog, Splash. He tells how he accompanies the Senator to his office in Washington D.C. on a daily basis. It is a teaching tool for children as Splash tells what life is like for a legislator on Capitol Hill. Splash knows how to stay quiet and behave well so he can sit in on the meetings and stay close to his beloved master. This book, written by the late Senator Edward Kennedy, is a warm, joyful read as readers get an inside look of the Capitol Building. They observe meetings in session, speeches given and groups of visiting children taking pictures with the Senator. Illustrator, David Small adds the perfect touch to this book with his wonderful and happy sketches. Every elementary school and classroom library should have this book in their collections!
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Format: Hardcover
Senator Kennedy intended this book to give children a better understanding of public service and of how government works. The prose is appealing for three main features: 1) The short, clearly written sentences, 2), the combination of information and humor, and 3), The engaging personality of the narrator. The latter is not Teddy Kennedy, but his dog, a floppy-eared, curly-haired Portuguese Water Dog named "Splash, who positively overflows with personality.

Kennedy presents the educational aspects as information for Splash, a Virginia-raised newcomer to Washington D.C. We see beautiful ink and watercolor pictures of the White House, the Kennedy Center ("named for my Senator's brother"), the Lincoln Memorial ("the sixteenth President, who led our country during the Civil War"), a glistening full page showing the Washington Monument, and the Capitol. The workings of D.C. are fascinating, even for adult readers. "Splashie" tells us that when he and the Senator enter the Russell Senate Office Building, "everyone has to walk through the metal detector--even me!" In addition, how many children or adults know that there's an underground train (Splash loves it, and Senator Kennedy enjoys Splash's excitement!) that travels from the Senate Office Building to the Capital in less than 30 seconds? There's a gorgeous 2-page spread showing Kennedy's office. Ship models, framed mementoes, and a subdued outline of Kennedy by his desk take a back seat to Splash playing with a ball and a stuffed animal. This is symbolic of the sensibilities of the whole book; it's about Splash and his D.C. exploits, not about Senator Kennedy. After all, (wink, wink), Splash wrote the book!

Of course, being a Senatorial dog, Splash can't help but hear some behind the scenes politics as well.
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