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    Sunday, September 22, 2002

    Joined the Fray: I’ve joined the fray over at Blogcritics. Eric Olsen really hit on something with this idea of a "blog central" of book, movie, and music reviews. You can find reviews of things there that you wouldn't find in the traditional mainstream media. And Eric Olsen has made it his blog home so media news and interviews can be found there, too.

    My first attempt at a book review is up now. (I haven't mastered the art of the lede.) It’s a review of a children’s book,So You Want to Be President?, by Judith St. George and illustrated by one of my favorite children’s book illustrators, David Small. (The Library, George Washington's Cows) My daughter brought the book home from the library a couple of weeks ago, and everyone was captivated by it. Each of her brothers read it without any parental prodding. In fact, they recommended that we read it, they thought it was so good. And it was. The cover illustration alone is worth the price of the book - a rendering of Mount Rushmore with the faces looking as if they’re sharing a good joke, or as if they’ve just read Judith St. George’s Presidential anecdotes.

    Instead of presenting the Presidents and their histories in chronological order, which runs the risk of being a great yawn, the book ties the Presidents together by commonalities. Thus, we have all the Georges, all the Williams and Johns and and all the Jameses together in a discussion of the most common Presidential names; Lincoln and Harding together in a discussion of the ugliest and the prettiest, (When accused of being two-faced Lincoln once quipped, “If I am two-faced, would I wear the face that I have now?”); and Taft and Madison in a discussion of the biggest and the smallest. But the author doesn’t limit herself to trivia. She also touches on their personalities, their educations, their motivations, and their honesty - or lack thereof. One of the best illustrations (though Clintonites would disagree) is of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon descending the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, their heads bent in shame as Abraham Lincoln sternly looks down upon them. Finally, she quotes Abraham Lincoln in a message that every child should take to heart, no matter what they want to be when they grow up:

    “I know very well that many other might in this matter as in others, do better than I can. But...I am here. I must do the best I can, and bear the responsibility of taking the course which I feel I ought to take.”

    Come to think of it, that’s a message all adults should take to heart, too.

    posted by Sydney on 9/22/2002 08:44:00 AM 0 comments


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