'Duck for President'
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[AUG. 18, 2004]
for President," written by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Simon and
Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004, 35 pages, ages 4-8
With all the presidential conventions
going on this summer, why not humorously introduce your child to our
democratic process with "Duck for President"? Doreen Cronin and
Betsy Lewin (remember "Giggle, Giggle, Quack"?) have teamed up once
again to give us the rather mischievous, unforgettable Duck with his
family of farm animals and his overworked, long-suffering farmer
This time, Duck has decided that his
chores of mowing grass and grinding coffee beans are too hard. He
doesn't like "picking tiny bits of grass and espresso beans out of
his feathers" at the end of the day either. So, Duck decides to hold
an election. He wins the vote over Farmer Brown and begins running
However, Duck soon says, "Running a
farm is no fun at all." Therefore, Duck decides to put Framer Brown
in control once again and run for governor. As one can easily
predict, there is then the presidency!
Duck's election staff helps him put up
posters, election rules are posted, campaigning is done (even
kissing babies), votes are counted, missing ballots are found (Duck
insists on a recount), and red, white and blue bunting abound! Each
election Duck comes out the winner, even if by very few votes. Each
job turns out to have its drawbacks. Duck finally decides that being
in charge isn't what he wants after all.
Ms. Cronin has compressed a lengthy,
complicated election process into understandable steps taken by
candidates who run for office. Although the book simplifies the
election process, it is a good introduction for parents and teachers
of small children who wish to expose young people to our democratic
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The more complex elements of public
service are not the subject of this children's book. Nothing is
mentioned about the duties of the governor or the president. The
book's main focus is the election, while the message is clearly that
"being in charge and making decisions is a very difficult job."
Everyone can understand why Duck eventually returns to his original
chores on the farm.
Ms. Lewin's illustrations are quite
hilarious, as they have been in the other books where she has
collaborated with Cronin. Bold outline sketching filled with bright
primary colors will delight the young people who share this book.
Many of the animals as well as humans have well-developed facial
features and body language. I especially like the look of disgust on
the pigs' faces and the two chickens fainting from the smell as
Farmer Brown walks by them at the end of a busy day!
Hopefully adults thinking of running
for public office treat this message with humor rather than as a
serious element that might influence their decision to run for
public office. Those of us who read and share children's books will
thoroughly enjoy the experiences of Duck on his campaign trail!
books by Doreen Cronin about Farmer Brown and his rather
exasperating farm animals, come see us at the Lincoln Public
Library, 725 Pekin St.
Moreland, youth services librarian,
Public Library District]