Lives of the Presidents by Kathleen Krull

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In honor of yesterday’s American Independence Day holiday, I bring you a light-hearted collection of anecdotes and facts about the United States Presidents. At just over 100 pages and geared toward young readers, Lives of the Presidents by Kathleen Krull and Kathryn Hewitt (published by Harcourt Children’s Books, updated 2011) is just the right length for adult or child alike who is looking for brief sketches of each one of the presidents through history – without the (possibly) boring details. The tone is much like the caricature-like illustrations on the cover would suggest: silly and a little exaggerated.

Lives of the Presidents is subtitled “Fame, Shame, and What the Neighbors Thought” and that seems to capture the gist of the book. We don’t learn much about the presidencies and their politics, but we do get a general overview of their lives, and I learned a number of entertaining facts about some of the presidents. This gives them personality and humor I won’t forget!

The only disappointment I had is that some of the presidents were only given a half a page in the book. It may be true that they were rather boring people, but still, they deserved a little more space since they were presidents. I should also note that I do love a well written, length, stuffy biography every now and then. But this was just right for this year.

To give you a taste for some of the fun facts in this book, here’s a six-question quiz for you. How many are you able to answer correctly? (quiz no longer available)

Reviewed on July 5, 2011

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

    • Pam (@iwriteinbooks) » lol, yeah, you probably didn’t learn a lot of the unimportant trivia in the poli sci major, huh. Glad you had fun, it was a fun read!

  • Ahh what a fun little book! I’m such a Presential history nerd; I read “Hidden Illnesses In the White House” a while back and it was sooo fascinating.

    Thanks for the quiz, by the way! I can’t believe I got the Monroe one wrong, ugh. 🙂

  • the one with the crutches completely took me by surprise… carefully wording, in case I give away the answer to a reader who hasn’t done the quiz yet 🙂
    that’s not the mental image I have of him at all!!!!

  • Ha! I got them all correct except George Washington (for the smallpox scars.) I picked Thomas Jefferson.

    I got JFK correct because I just watched the Special on Jackie O. 😉

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