February 23, 2018

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Our Country’s Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency by Ann Bausum | SLJ Review

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redstarBAUSUM, Ann. Our Country’s Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency. 224p. chart. chron. further reading. index. maps. photos. reprods. National Geographic. Jan. 2017. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781426326851.

Gr 4-7 –A clear, colorful design; a variety of sidebars; and rich historical material make this a solid, go-to resource for information on the presidents. The text is chronologically organized into six parts, each of which features a two-page time line delineating significant events. Each entry begins with a fact box that includes the president’s signature, date of birth, political party, and salient details such as the names of vice presidents and first ladies. Among sober assessments of the presidents’ achievements, fun facts abound. Sidebars cover a range of topics, such as the powers of the presidency, presidential landmarks, and kids in the White House. The volume is extravagantly illustrated with reproductions of contemporaneous paintings, as well as facsimiles of letters, engravings, maps, cutaways, charts (depicting, for example, presidential career paths), and numerous photographs. A comprehensive chart lays out results of every election. Bausum offers a two-page overview of the 2016 election, outlining some of Donald Trump’s controversial actions and statements during the campaign and suggesting a parallel to the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Published in January 2017, the book includes a one-page summary of Trump’s wealthy upbringing and background in real estate and reality TV. VERDICT Whether for research or casual reading, this is an excellent ready reference on the presidents for most libraries.–Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2017 issue.

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