Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents, by David Stabler, illustrated by Doogie Horner; Quirk Books, $13.99, 224 pages, ages 7-10.
Celebrate Presidents’ Day with this thoroughly enjoyable nonfiction examination of America’s presidents before they grew up. Stabler continues his exploration of popular history (Secret Lives of the Supreme Court; Secret Lives of Great Authors) by digging into the boyhoods of twenty commanders-in-chief. Many were pranksters, like Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, and others had surprising hobbies like ballroom dancing (Taft). Ford faced dyslexia, and Obama’s first job at Baskin Robbins ruined his taste for ice cream for life. Lively and engaging text are accompanied by Horner’s 200 caricatures of the presidents as young boys. A wonderful reminder that even the most powerful people in the world were once children too, and that greatness can come from anywhere.