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'Duck for President'     Send a link to a friend

[AUG. 18, 2004]  "Duck for President," written by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004, 35 pages, ages 4-8

Duck for PresidentReview by
Louella Moreland

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 owner.

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 the farm.

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 traditions.


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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!

For more books by Doreen Cronin about Farmer Brown and his rather exasperating farm animals, come see us at the Lincoln Public Library, 725 Pekin St.

[Louella Moreland, youth services librarian,
Lincoln Public Library District]

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