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Ghosts of the White House Hardcover – January 1, 1998
From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6?Sara is excited about going on a field trip to the White House. Once there, she is unexpectedly pulled ("Magic Schoolbus" fashion) into a portrait of George Washington and given a grand tour by Mr. Washington himself. As they move from room to room, Sara meets the ghosts of the men who made this very special house famous. The approach is neither chronological nor alphabetical. Instead, each room is associated with a few presidents. Readers will find Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower in "The Map Room" briefly discussing D day while Millard Fillmore and Richard Nixon discuss their similarities in "The China Room." Numerous speech balloons are full of little-known facts and imagined opinions. For example, Harry Truman tells Sara about the deteriorated state of the White House in 1945 while exclaiming that the current need to check visitors with metal detectors "makes me mad!" Sidebars contain additional facts including dates of birth and death, nicknames, and term dates. An illustrated time line and an explanation of the office of the president is included, and the five still-living presidents are given brief treatment on a separate page. While the detailed watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations and the curious tidbits of information make this volume a potentially appealing browsing item, be aware that its lack of traditional organization and presentation of opinion as fact hinder its use as a source of reliable information.?Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2^-5. Harness presents facts within a fictional framework in this history picture book for older children. Bored by the White House guide's presentation to her class, Sara is happy to be snared by the ghost of George Washington, who takes her on his own tour. Within each new room they enter, ghosts of the former presidents tell Sara a little about their presidential experiences and offer commentary on the events of the other periods. In the Treaty Room, for example, James Madison teaches Sara about the Constitution, James Monroe talks about writing the Monroe Doctrine, and Woodrow Wilson explains why sheep grazed on the front lawn during his presidency. Thought balloons are used to convey much of the information, with biographical facts on the presidents found in the page borders. Like Alice Provensen's My Fellow Americans (1995), this presents history as real people with real personalities rather than as dry, dusty textbook facts, and the tantalizing tidbits presented may pique student interest enough for them to follow up on their own. Susan Dove Lempke