Allison's Book Bag

Woodrow the White House Mouse by Peter and Cheryl Barnes

Posted on: September 14, 2012

Woodrow Mouse is back! In late August, I reviewed Woodrow for President. Now I’m delighted to review the follow-up book: Woodrow the White House Mouse. Just like its predecessor, information that might otherwise be dull or difficult has been made fun through cute rhymes. Moreover, the lavish  illustrations are once again colorful, detailed, and purposeful. Having said this, you might wonder: What else do you need to know? Well, Woodrow the White House Mouse isn’t just a clone. And so there are features I’d like to tell you about.

For one thing there is the subject matter. “Woodrow G. Washingtail won the last vote.” This means there is a host of information to introduce about the White House. The President and his family must attend the Inaugural Ball. As a point of interest, the dress of one of Woodrow’s children is modeled on the exact gown worn by the wife of President Eisenhower for his first inaugural celebration. Then there is the Oval Office, East Room, Red Room, Green Room, and Blue Room. I guess the president likes to have rooms of different colors! The White House has apparently one hundred rooms, the most famous of which are described in Woodrow the White House Mouse. Because of my being Canadian, all this information is new to me and so this book has given me a better understanding of the American Presidency. (Or, at least his house. :-)) The best picture books are ones that appeal to all ages.

For another thing there are the mini-stories. Granted, the cute rhymes help lighten up otherwise dull information. Yet it’s one thing to learn about the Inaugural Ball, it’s another thing to read the amusing and creative anecdote about how one of Woodrow’s sons fell into a senator’s soup while attending it. In the same vein, it’s one thing to learn about all the colored rooms of the White House, it’s another thing to read the fanciful imaginings of one of his daughters who dreamed she might dance ballet in the East Room and be joined by the famous Maine Mouse Quartet. Those made-up mini-stories add personality and humor, making difficult and factual information more palatable. Another positive to the mini-stories is that they endear readers to Woodrow and his family, while at the same time educating readers about the White House. For example, because Woodrow and his family take time to play on Egg Rolling Day, I learned that such an event happens annually at the White House.

Before closing, there are three more features which I’d like to briefly cover. I’ll start with one that holds true for both books but I neglected to note in my earlier review. The illustrations are worth looking at for their own right and could inspire many conversations. For example, on the first spread, there is an illustration of Woodrow with his bodyguards, the Presidential Seal, election signs, and Woodrow’s family. The illustrator has even built-in a reason to examine the artwork. In Woodrow for President, a secret service agent was hidden on every page. In Woodrow The White House Mouse, a Presidential Seal can be found on every page. Last, there is the Tail End, which again is a supplementary feature at the back of both books. In Woodrow The White House Mouse, the adults can learn the reasons America has a president, trivia about some of America’s presidents, the origins of the White House, explanation about the more than one hundred rooms, and other facts.

Woodrow has run for president and now served as president. Do I sniff a series in the making? Perhaps there’s a clue in the last sentence: “…. A fellow just might want to seek re-election.”

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

2 Responses to "Woodrow the White House Mouse by Peter and Cheryl Barnes"

I found this topic to be so incredibly dry when I was in school, so I’m really glad to see that someone is trying to make it interesting and memorable!

Thanks for being on the tour!

For anyone else who feels the same, Little Patriots Press, the publishers of Woodrow the White House Mouse has a whole series of picture books on the political process and other civic topics.

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