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The President and Mom's Apple Pie Hardcover – May 13, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Garland's (Mystery Mansion) brightly stylized computer artwork makes fitting accompaniment to this campy but agreeable yarn about President William Howard Taft. Made up out of whole cloth (but inspired by the leader's penchant for getting out and about the country), the story imagines him pausing on a 1909 whistle-stop tour to dedicate a small town's flagpole. But the portly president gets sidetracked. "What is that wonderful aroma?" he asks, and the obliging lad of a narrator whisks him off on a culinary (and somewhat modern multi-ethnic) tour of the town, first to Tony's Italian Villa for spaghetti, then Big Ed's Barbecue for ribs, on to Mrs. Wong's Hunan Palace and, finally, to his own back yard, where the "wonderful aroma," it turns out, emanates from the narrator's mother's apple pie, cooling on the windowsill. Garland pictures the 300-plus-pound Taft as a beach ball of a fellow with tiny limbs and an appetite of truly presidential proportions. One particularly humorous spread shows the rotund but nimble "Big Bill" racing down a residential street in pursuit of the aromatic treat, well ahead of a pack of townsfolk. The clean lines, slightly flattened perspectives and uniform features produced by the computer graphics accentuate the comic absurdity of the material, while the setting, wreathed in such classic Americana as flags, a brass band and straw boaters, radiates nostalgia. Ages 3-8.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-As the 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft weighed more than 300 pounds and is sometimes remembered more for the size of his appetite than for his political ambitions. Told by a young boy, this good-natured spoof relates the events of a visit by Taft to small-town America at the turn of the century. The president is barely off the train before a delicious aroma propels him down Main Street in search of its source. Of course, the whole town, including the mayor and marching band, follows along in hot pursuit. In a tribute to cultural diversity, Taft stops at the town's local restaurants sampling culinary delights at "Tony's Italian Villa," "Big Ed's Barbecue," and "Mrs. Wong's Hunan Palace" but no meal satisfies him completely. Finally, Taft follows his nose to the child's house where mom's apple pie is cooling on the kitchen windowsill. After a hysterical encounter with the mother, her clothesline, and a rescued pie, Taft sits down to tea. Full-color comical illustrations capture the intended silliness with ease, and Garland's very round Taft practically rolls down the street with glee. Younger readers will simply enjoy the chase, but an older audience might be prompted to investigate the authenticity of early 20th-century, small-town diversity and Taft's presidential accomplishments.
Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1 edition (May 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525468870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525468875
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,411,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Award winning author and illustrator Michael Garland has been out on the New York Times Best Seller list four times.

Some recent Michael Garland books from are; Oh, What A Christmas! Scholastic, Miss Smith Under the Ocean, Dutton Publishers, and Grandpa's Tractor, Boyds Mills

Michael Garland's greatest success has been for writing and illustrating children's picture books. Garland's Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook recently won the California and Delaware State Reading Awards. He is currently working on his thirtieth book as author and illustrator.

Michael Garland has illustrated for celebrity authors like James Patterson and Gloria Estefan. His illustrations for Patterson's SantaKid were the inspiration for Sak's Fifth's Avenue's Christmas holiday window display in New York City. Garland's Christmas Magic has become a season classic and is currently being developed for a for a TV special.

His work has won many honors and is frequently included in the Society of Illustrators and the Original Art of Children's book show as well annuals from Print, Graphis and Communications Arts magazines. Recently, Michael Garland was included on the list of the top one hundred Irish Americans by Irish American Magazine.
Michael Garland is frequently asked to speak at schools, literary conferences and festivals across the country.

Michael Garland

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Michael Garland's latest upbeat story is as American as, well, apple pie, and as brightly colorful as a Fourth of July parade. It's an imagined look-back at our history and a charming portrait of small town life.
The year is 1909 and the President, William Howard Taft, is coming to town. Now, he's not only our country's leader but he's a jolly man who appreciates a good meal (from his rotund appearance many of them).
The President's train IS greeted by the Fireman's Band playing "Hail To The Chief" and a loud round of cheers when Taft himself emerges. But, before the President can dedicate the town's new flagpole his attention is caught by an aroma that he can't resist. When he asks what it might be a young boy suggests it might be "Tony's Italian Villa," where they make wonderful spaghetti. The boy leads Taft to Tony's and then on a gustatorial tour of his city.
Still, the President was smelling something else delicious. Guess what it was?
With sprightly full color illustrations and a fun text "The President and Mom's Apple Pie" deserves some cheers of its own.
- Gail Cooke
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By b. small on April 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
We picked this book out at the library and it quickly became my son's favorite book.
The story tells the tale of a visit by President William Howard Taft to a small town in 1909 to dedicate the town's new flagpole. Once the portly president catches whiff of a "beguiling" scent, he forgets about his presidential duties and leads the townpeople in search of the tantalizing aroma until he discovers its source.
The story is light and fun and easy to read. The illustrations couldn't be better. They are vibrant and full of life.
My kids, ages 2 1/2, 5 1/2 and 9 all love the book. They laugh at the story and constantly find new amusement with the pictures. Even those of us who are a little bit older can find enjoyment in the book. It evokes a wonderful sense of nostalgia for "the good old days". We've read the book each night for a week. I usually get sick of reading the same stories over and over ... not this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SeaShell on January 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit - I was not expecting much of this book when my youngest son snatched it from a shelf at the library. I thought it would be like so many of the books we take out based on an appealing cover alone - nice to look at, but with an uninteresting story. Boy was I wrong!

My kids found this book to be exciting and very funny. They loved the idea that the President of the United States would be led around town by a little boy their age, and completely identified with the little boy's character. They enjoyed thinking about the meals President Taft ate around town, and wondered whether the steamed veggies at the Chinese restaurant were really yummy, or if Taft was just being polite.

It really is a shame that, as I write this review, the book is out of print - it really deserves to be much more popular. My advice to anyone reading this review - snatch up one of those bargain remainder copies. You won't be sorry!
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