The President of the Jungle

Nancy Paulsen Bks/Penguin/. Jan. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984814746.
Gr 2-4–The animal kingdom decides to replace its monarchy with a democracy after Lion, King of the Jungle, reroutes a public water supply for his own private swimming pool. Candidates for anthropomorphic animal president include Snake, Cobra, and Sloth. As they begin their campaigns, bolded vocabulary words like debate and rally are defined. The back includes a glossary of all the election terms. Colorfully busy compositions of the political creatures are unpolished, but convey bumbling charm. Even though the subjects are animals, their election is a modern one with TV interviews and social media campaigns. The text is nonpartisan and animals come from a variety of real-world equivalent political backgrounds, such as political dynasties or grassroots candidates. However, considering President Obama’s 2008 campaign featured numerous slogans that included the word “change,” making Monkey the candidate for change is a less-than-thoughtful choice.
VERDICT Ironically, a herd of animals may be a smart way to humanize presidential elections for our young future voters.

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