Lights On!: Ike Hoover Electrifies the White House

illus. by Benjamin Hummel. 40p. bibliog. glossary. photos. Filter. Oct. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9780865412446.
Gr 3–5—Becker reconstructs the story of Irwin "Ike" Hoover's work with the Edison General Electric company to bring electricity to the White House in 1891 during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison. While several children's books dealing with the White House history include information about the innovation of electricity, this title draws from Hoover's autobiography My 42 Years in the White House, among other sources, to depict his experience wiring and hanging electric lights in the president's house. Though certain characters and details are fictionalized, this book leaves readers with a solid impression of life in the late 19th century. The illustrations are reminiscent of classical art and reinforce the text by underpinning the opulence of the White House for the time period. Hummel also makes good use of chiaroscuro to juxtapose light and dark tones in parallel with the advent of electric lights.
VERDICT A succinct historical account and a suitable addition to history and biography collections for elementary school students.

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