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*Basher History: U.S. Presidents--Oval Office All-Stars* by Simon Basher and Dan Green - middle grades book review
Also by Simon Basher:

Creative Writing: The Plot Thickens (Basher Basics)

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style!
Basher History: U.S. Presidents--Oval Office All-Stars
by Simon Basher and Dan Green
Ages 10+ 112 pages Kingfisher January 2013 Paperback    

U.S. Presidents: Oval Office All-Stars is an entertaining, irreverent take on the presidents, sharing trivial, amusing, and sometimes shocking details about their lives. The book aims to show us these statesmen as multidimensional human beings who “sometimes do stupid things, have crazy ideas, and generally fumble their way through.”

Where else would you learn that George Washington wore dentures made of gold, hippo ivory, and human teeth, or that his horses had their teeth brushed each morning? While Thomas Jefferson’s genius is widely celebrated (he spoke five languages, and was a gifted inventor), did you also know that he bathed his feet in ice-cold water every day? Or that Abe Lincoln is the only president to have ever held a patent (or to store papers under his stovepipe hat, for that matter)?

The authors handle these presidential histories with a witty and light touch that is sure to appeal to any one from the age of 10 and up. This little book can be read cover-to-cover, or you can simply skip to the presidents of interest to you. In either case, the book never disappoints; there are gems to be found on every page.

Caricatures of each president aim to capture their important characteristics and life stories: for instance, Teddy Roosevelt is shown holding a gun with a teddy bear perched on his shoulder, recalling the story of how this avid hunter refused to shoot a bear cub, thus leading to the creation of the teddy bear, which went on to become a global phenomenon. The illustration also shows an image of hammer striking a corporate office, referring to Roosevelt’s “trust-busting” exercise of dismantling large corporations. The illustration is made complete by the image of a submarine periscope, referencing Teddy’s status as the first American president to travel by submarine.

The book even comes with a tear-off poster with the image of each president listed in chronological order along with important details about their presidency. An appendix has a glossary as well as a detailed portrait gallery with formal illustrations of each president. This book is a terrific find that will make it easy for students to learn U.S. history.
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