Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History

Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History by Lois Miner Huey is a nominee for the 2015-16 South Carolina Children’s Book Award.

Have you ever wanted to live in the past? If so, you may just change your mind when you read Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History.

In this book, you’ll learn that things probably weren’t all that great a few hundred years ago. The smells were horrible, there were bugs everywhere, germs spread awful diseases, and the clothes were extremely uncomfortable, dirty, and just plain nasty!

Take a trip through time in Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History and decide if you’d really like to live in the past. Maybe the present isn’t so bad after all!

This book is sure to be a hit with elementary and middle grade readers. Kids like gross stuff, and this book has it in spades. It’s interesting, entertaining, and full of yucky facts (and illustrations) that will make young readers either laugh out loud or get a little sick. Maybe both. Either way, kids may read this and appreciate how far things like hygiene and medicine have come.

Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History is an essential book for studies of early American history, scientific advances, or comparisons of early life to the modern day.

The House That George Built

The House That George Built, written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Rebecca Bond, is a nominee for the 14-15 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

If you take the familiar story of “The House That Jack Built” and combine it with the history of America’s most famous home, you’ve got The House That George Built. This book tells readers about the building of the White House, and how George Washington, the only president who never actually lived in the house, oversaw its construction.

The House That George Built takes us through the early days of our nation, the selection of site for the president’s home, choosing a design, and into the actual building of what would become the White House. The explanations of those events are coupled with charming rhymes reminiscent of the familiar poem mentioned above.

Readers see that, even though he held the highest office in the country, George Washington didn’t hesitate to lend a hand wherever it was needed. He assisted with the actual design, he pounded in stakes, and he made important decisions so that the house would be finished on time and budget.

An afterword and author’s note provide more information about the building of the White House, including some of the changes that have been made over the years.

This book is an ideal fit for studies of Washington, DC, George Washington, or even architecture. It could also be used as a read-aloud for Presidents’ Day. In any event, The House That George Built is a welcome addition to any library collection, and I think both students and teachers who read this book will have a new appreciation for the White House and the man ultimately responsible for building it.

The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub

The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About the Presidents, written by Susan Katz and illustrated by Robert Neubecker, is nominated for the 2013-14 South Carolina Children’s Book Award.

I found the poems about each president in this book to be very informative and, in several cases, funny. The notes explaining each poem’s content were also extremely helpful.

The cartoon-like illustrations were often humorous and depicted each U.S. President in a less-than-serious light. Most people view these leaders as super-serious, straight-laced politicians, but we often forget that presidents are also people. The poems in this book kind of highlight that and may even give students something to relate or even aspire to.

I will say that I was a bit disappointed with the poem for my favorite president, Theodore Roosevelt. It was all about one of his sons and didn’t even begin to touch on how awesome TR really was.

The notes on each president at the back of the book also provide readers with information. Each president is listed in order with his full name, birth and death (where applicable) dates, terms of office, nicknames, most notable quote, and a first for each man. Teddy Roosevelt, for example, was the first president to ride in an automobile, submerge in a submarine, and fly in an airplane. These little tidbits are kind of cool and could prove very useful in trivia contests!

This book of poems is a welcome addition to my library, and I foresee it becoming an integral part of Presidents’ Day celebrations.

Franklin and Winston: A Christmas That Changed the World

Franklin and Winston: A Christmas That Changed the World by Douglas Wood and Barry Moser is a nominee for the 2013-2014 South Carolina Children’s Book Award.

Franklin and Winston: A Christmas That Changed the World tells of the Christmas of 1941 and Winston Churchill’s visit to the White House. During his stay, Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt both cemented their friendship and developed a framework that would take the Allied Powers through the war they were determined to win.

This book is a welcome addition to any library, whether its patrons are children or adults. Young readers will be able to use this book to fill in some gaps in what is present in their history textbooks, and older readers, like myself, may find that they never knew just how close Churchill and Roosevelt grew to be. Franklin and Winston is a perfect fit for many states’ social studies standards (in a number of grade levels), so it is also a good fit for classroom libraries. (I would even say that it would make an excellent Christmas gift for the history buff in your life.)

The artwork in this book, done in watercolors by Barry Moser, is wonderful, and much of it is based on actual photographs of Churchill’s visit to the White House during the Christmas of 1941. Readers may find it interesting to compare the illustrators renderings with the actual photos. (This may serve as a way to collaborate between art and social studies teachers.)