Review of “Jacqueline the Great Runs for President”, by Christin Berger

Oh, if only…

If only elections were held in parks, where people could run around on the grass, play games, and celebrate.

If only speeches were straightforward, short, and easily believable.

If only the candidates could have a conversation with the voters, one-on-one.

Well, it happens in Jacqueline’s world. She has decided to go out and get those important votes by doing just what I described. She and her running mate, Jacob (who seems surprised at his candidacy, but goes along with Jacqueline’s plans) throw a party in the park, where they greet each friend as she or he arrives.

Our presidential hopeful climbs on a tree stump and addresses the crowd in a firm, presidential voice. The people like what they hear, and then the votes are collected and counted. The voters leave at the end of the celebration, happy and filled up on birthday cake.

For her part, Jacqueline dreams of further adventures, with a perplexed Jacob at her side.

What struck me first about this book was the pictures. The author used real kids in a real park setting (Hole-in-the Mountain Park in Lake Benton, Minn.), and the children did a terrific job posing for each picture. The stylization of the photos was unique; the backgrounds were intentionally a little blurry (to bring out the importance of the characters), and the people looked almost photoshopped in. An interesting, eye-catching technique, to be sure.

Any child who reads this book can relate to the idea of rising above his/her childhood and becoming an important, respected individual in the eyes of adults. After all, that is a common lament among the under-10’s–well, let’s be real, teen-agers too. But they are closer to adulthood, and their expectations are different. This book is for the pre-teen readers who wait for their day in the sun.

There are some interesting tidbits of information at the back of the book about women candidates, voting, and elections. I didn’t know any of it! A nice lesson in history…and probably will be better absorbed by the reader after the delightful tale of Jacqueline and her election adventure.

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