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Wackiest White House Pets Hardcover – October 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4–Davis has chosen 15 presidents, briefly summarizing their terms of office and highlighting the unusual animals they kept, as well as the quirky behavior of both the creatures and their owners. While some of the pet facts are mildly entertaining, the book is replete with sweeping generalizations that are often unfounded or misleading. For example: "Jefferson was a true democrat.… [he] not only believed in equal rights for people, he believed in equal rights for animals, too." Jefferson as a slaveholder is ignored. President Buchanan "was too old and cautious to make hard decisions." The relationship drawn between age and decision- making is ridiculous. "World War I was a time of plots and spies under every bed." Will the intended audience recognize the hyperbole here or take it literally? A section presenting some information about the other presidents is included, but with the same difficulties in terms of generalizations. Johnson's watercolor illustrations are amusing, but cannot compensate for the problems with the text. For a humorous, eclectic, but more accurate peek at the presidency, stay with Judith St. George's So You Want to Be President? (Philomel, 2000).–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. John Quincy Adams briefly kept an alligator in the East Room during his presidency. Ronald Reagan had a First Fish, sent to him in the mail by a 10-year-old boy. Sixteen hundred Pennsylvania Avenue has witnessed 400 different pets, from Lincoln's goats to Coolidge's raccoon. This whimsical topic will appeal to young history buffs and provide entertaining insights into the family life of presidents. The art, rightly, goes for the humor, but neither the delicate, muted colors used, nor the stiff design, are especially engaging. Still, breezy, exclamation point-ridden, corny joke-filled tales about the likes of Dolley Madison's pet parrot, rescued when British troops set fire to the White House during the War of 1812, and Woodrow Wilson's tobacco-chewing ram can't help but amuse. The 43 presidents are listed in chronological order in the back, with nicknames, brief historical notations about term highlights, and lists of pets--most of which are dogs. A bibliography is appended. Karin Snelson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439443733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439443739
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 9.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,412,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathryn Gibbs Davis, also known as "Gibbs Davis", is an award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and one film. A frequent visitor to schools across the country, Kathryn has been guest author at several presidential libraries.


October 16 - "Each One Read One" media event at High Roller Ferris Wheel (Las Vegas)
October 17 - Vegas Valley Book Festival (Las Vegas, NV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Jackson on December 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This clever book deserves a rating of five waggy tails.

You might be interested in knowing that Abraham Lincoln was our greatest national animal-lover. He not only kept a variety of animals while he was in the White House, but he was especially kind to them too. The first photo we have of a presidential pet is one of Abe's dog, Fido, a mutt. Here's hoping Obama follows his example.

There are many stories about animals Lincoln saved--a pig, a nest of birds, and a dog. In those days, his kindness was unusual.

Ellen Jackson, author
Abe Lincoln Loved Animals
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on November 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Did you know that the White House has been home to more that 400 pets? In the book Wackiest White House pets we meet some of the most unusual ones. John Quincy Adams had an alligator for 2 months, Thomas Jefferson had 2 grizzly bears! Of course the most popular pet of all has been a dog. The book features a list of presidents and all of the pets that each one had.

The book taught me a lot of each president. I never knew that the White house had been home to some of the wackiest pets!

I would recommed this book to others. It's very educational.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindergarten mom on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this for my son who was asking about our new president's pet. Not only does the book share detailed stories about a crocodile, goats etc that lived in the white house, but it also serves as a great tool to teach him about our presidents. It even mentions George Washington's wooden teeth. It has good illustrations as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Hancock on January 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book does a great job of presenting little nuggets of historical information while telling about the interesting pets that kids are interested in learning about. Short descriptions of the times are included for each man, but phrased in such a way that kids easily digest the info. The 15 presidents & their pets are presented in chronological order, which is a nice detail.
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