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Presidential Elections: And Other Cool Facts Paperback – September 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Which three pairs of relatives have been U.S. presidents? What is the electoral college? What's a caucus? How often has the vice president become president? The answers to these and many other questions about the presidential elections are revealed in this quick, friendly read by the author of How the U.S. Government Works. Guiding young readers through the complicated process of determining the leader of the country, the book includes chapters on the rules for electing the president, the electoral college, the presidential campaign, and the procedure and order of succession if something happens to the president. A glossary and selected bibliography provide useful fodder for future student research. Sprinkled throughout are fascinating tidbits on past presidents and their wives. In the 1948 election, for example, the Chicago Tribune was so sure Thomas Dewey had won the close race against Harry S. Truman, they printed a front-page story with the headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman." Imagine their chagrin when all the votes were counted and Truman had won!

Sobel does a fine job of extracting the relevant information from the elaborate electoral process, and making it manageable for elementary school-aged children (but watch out for typos!). Jill Wood's blue line drawings add interest to the well-balanced text. (Ages 8 to 11) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Syl Sobel, J.D., is Director, Publications & Media Division, Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. He is also author of two other books on government for young readers: How the U.S. Government Works and The U.S. Constitution and You.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series; 2 edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764118943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764118944
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,499,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am an attorney, a former newspaper reporter, and director of publications for a federal government agency. I started writing books about US government when my daughter asked me to write a book for her on how the government works. After it came out, my younger daughter asked me to write a book for her, too. So I asked her what to write about, and she said "cool things about presidents." After that book came out, my editor asked me if I had any more book ideas. When I told her that my older daughter suggested the first book, and my younger daughter suggested the second book, but now I was out of ideas, my editor said: "Mr. Sobel, you should have had more kids."

That was 16 years ago. Both girls are out of college and have started their careers. I've had 5 books published, and self-published one. I also cover high school sports for our local community newspaper. I love telling stories, and helping kids learn about our country's history, its system of government, and their responsibilities as citizens.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on May 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Syl Sobel has taken a complicated subject and made it understandable and interesting for the elementary school student. This book is easy to read, with short chapters and filled with a ton of information. It also includes a lot of fun facts that everyone will enjoy about different presidents, their wives and some of our more interesting elections. A wonderful resource with a glossary, index and bibliography.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an educational and fun book that could not have come at a better time! My family and I have enjoyed reading about the complex election process, which the author explains in a clear and enjoyable style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karen G. on February 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a homeschooling mother, I am very concerned about bias in the curriculum I choose, particularly when it comes to history and government. Ideally, I should not be able to ascertain the author's political ideology from the published work, and that is definitely the case with this book. I have no idea if Syl Sobel is liberal or conservative.

The book is well-written, and keeps my child's interest. Sobel masterfully simplifies the election processes that are sometimes confusing for adults, such as the electoral college, the popular vote, and their places in the electoral process. He gives a concise history of the election process and why it is the way it is. He touches on first ladies and gives a few trivial tidbits about various presidents (i.e., the youngest president elected, the oldest president elected, presidents who were related to other presidents, etc.).

Sobel gives equal time to both conservatives and liberals, and he neither endorses nor villifies any party. This book is purely factual and devoid of opinion.

This would have been a five-star review but for one glaring inaccuracy in the book. Sobel says that the United States is a democracy. A democracy is rule by the people. In the United States, the people democratically elect officials to represent them in governmnent, making the United States a Democratic Republic. This inaccuracy, however, was not a deal-breaker for me. I pointed out the error to my child and was able to discuss the differences between a democracy and a democratic republic, and it made for a very teachable moment.
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