So You Want to Be President?
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So You Want to Be President?

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  4,796 ratings  ·  397 reviews
This new version of the Caldecott-winning classic by illustrator David Small and author Judith St. George is updated with current facts and new illustrations to include our forty-second president, George W. Bush. There are now three Georges in the catalog of presidential names, a Bush alongside the presidential family tree, and a new face on the endpaper portraiture.
Hardcover, 47 pages
Published August 19th 2004 by Philomel (first published January 1st 2000)
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Caldecott Medal Winners
41st out of 77 books — 277 voters
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakFlotsam by David WiesnerMadeline by Ludwig BemelmansMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
List for #nerdcott
70th out of 325 books — 31 voters

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Community Reviews

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Amber Delauri
Genre: Picture Book- Historical
Summary: This book is full of kid-friendly facts about previous Presidents of the United States of America. It talks about their hobbies, pets, and favorite foods. It gives children an interesting view on life in the White House.
Critique- I loved this book because it made such a boring and over-studied subject really relatable to children of all ages. The ability for students to connect with the lives of past presidents was an amazing quality in this picture book....more
"If you want to be President—a good President—pattern yourself after the best. Our best have asked more of themselves than they thought they could give. They have had the courage, spirit, and will to do what they knew was right. Most of all, their first priority has always been the people and the country they served."

So You Want to Be President?, P. 47

This book is a surprising, effervescent combination of sharp wit and honest wisdom that I believe does perfect justice to the ideal of what th...more
(NS) Lisa
Did you know that six of our presidents were named James and four were named William? Or that James Madison was our smallest president at only five feet four inches, Abe Lincoln our tallest at six feet four inches and William Howard Taft weighed more than three hundred pounds? Did you know that most presidents went to college, but nine didn't and they included George Washington and Harry Truman. Presidents have come from all walks of life, had lots of different interests and hobbies and have fou...more
(NS) Brea M
Judith St. George writes this lighthearted informational book about U.S. presidents George Washington through Bill Clinton. Readers encounter random details about presidents that might give them a closer look into what kind of men have taken the important office in the past. To an adult, these details may seem entertaining but unimportant to the role of a president. To a child, these random facts portray the president as real people with a job they could aspire to have someday. Some of the humor...more
Tracey Demario
Like many books, So You Want to be President? presents facts about the 42 men who have held the Office of President of the United States. Unlike many books, however, it does so with humor and creativity. Judith St. George includes the usual information about each person, such as military record, education and age. However, she also informs readers about the men’s physical stature, personality traits, musical ability and pets. Interspersed with the general facts are amusing stories that reveal a...more
NS-Lisa Skrzypczynski
Judith St. George & David Small have created a wonderful children’s book about being the president. In So You Want to Be President?, children will learn all about what it means to be the president, what their job is, why people want to be the president, and about the rules and guidelines for running and being president. Children will also learn facts about many of the presidents. Some facts are fun like how Theodore Roosevelt had cats, dogs, guinea pigs, snakes, mice, rats, badgers, raccoons...more
Rebecca Ann
I really didn't care for this picture book. The characters of the presidents, depictions of them in women's cheerleading outfits, and farcical portrayal of them rubbed me the wrong way. I thought the facts presented about the presidents were completely random, like how many lived in log cabins and who was fattest. I guess it's good to have a sense of humor about your government, but I think this book took on too many presidents and made it too much of a joke. It was also very clearly biased, pro...more
Kelsey Veeder

Having always loved American history, I was delighted by Judith St. George’s So You Want to Be President. Filled with fun facts about our nation’s leaders, St. George’s book kept my attention with information (both informative and sometimes silly), but David Small’s illustrations made me take a second, third, and even fourth look! The accompanying pictures provide a presidential face with a name, but in a playful and fun, kid-appealing, way. Each page bursts with caricatures of former presidents

Lis Ann
See full review @ The Indigo Quill

It comes as no surprise that there has been some controversy over this book. What IS surprising, is the lack of knowledge people have displayed in their reviews in regard to our Nation's history and legal terms. So before I really get into my review, let's lay down some foundation in which my opinion has been based:

1) The term "impeached" refers to the process in which a President can be prosecuted. It does NOT mean that the President has been barred from offic...more
Samantha Holler
So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George and David Small is a book that takes and interesting look on being a president. The author approaches the advantages and disadvantages of being the president from a simpler point of view, one that a child could understand. The book continues to give information about each president in a light-hearted sort of way. The book gives interesting facts and what seems to be unimportant information on each president in a simple way that is easy for childr...more
Michaela George
This book would be rather inspirational for young children. It lets them know the ups and downs of being President. It says that you can be young, old, tall or short. You can look like anything and still be President. It also gives some history of the Presidents. Many of them were related, I didn’t even know that! The talk about how almost every President had pets or all shapes and sizes. This helps relate to the kids because kids love their pets! The book also talks about how no woman or person...more
Grace Bradley
This story takes you through many funny facts about presidents in the U.S. It goes through all the fun things to do in the white house like go swimming! If you want to be president, it might help if your name is John or James because there were multiple presidents with this name. There are so many interesting facts about the presidents that you don’t know until you read this cute story. This light hearted book is educational and fun for kids to learn about our countries history through the presi...more
This informational text on presidents gives the positives and negatives of the president's job and also lists facts about presidents. It includes details about many of the US presidents. This text would be more appropriate for second or third grade, but it includes information that all grades could use. In the back of the book, there is a timeline of all the presidents the US has had. This book is a little dated however, with the last president listed being Clinton. Some of the ways the "positiv...more
Kodi Jones
This book is appropriate and very deserving of the Caldecott Award. The book begins and ends with illustrations of the president's faces, which are done with water color. The presidents are outlined with white to make them "pop" throughout the story. The pictures show great emotion on each of the president’s faces as the story tells both the pains and pleasures of being president. It also shows the cohesions between the presidents. I think the pictures exaggerate the story by demonstrating that...more
Swear Ahmed
So You Want to Be President was a fun nonfictional book that was awarded a Caldecott Medal (2001). It is fit for children ages 8-10.
This book gives a brief history of all the presidents and some of their accomplishments. It also sheds light on the mistakes and shortcomings they have had. I found it lighthearted and funny.
The illustrations were very cartoonish. I found them appropriate for the text. The images coupled with the language made the read quite a joy. While it was funny there was st...more
Teddie Trombley
This book brings a great lesson to kids and teaches them that if you want to be the president one day it is not impossible for it to happen and all you need to do is follow and believe in your dreams. This book brings up good examples of how it is not impossible to become the president. The first example is that it does not matter what you look like to become president. You could be fat, skinny, tall, or short to become president. The second example is that it doesn’t matter what your current jo...more
Jennifer Varela
Although everything in the story is not very informational and meant to be more intriguing and fun, I guess the plot, overall, was average. The story focused more on the enjoyable parts of the White House rather than all the tough duties presidents must attack daily. I expected it to be educational as well as fun but that wasn’t the case. The drawings seem to come out of a comic book which makes it seem like the topic isn’t being taken serious which is unfortunate. In reality, the drawings are g...more
David Korsak
This book is about the history of our presidents and also talks about the good and bad things about being president. This book is very interesting because it not only gives background on presidents, but this book also contains relevant facts pertaining events that took place behind closed doors. Some background from the book on certain presidents is George Washington being a general. Actors like Ronald Reagan; big like William Howard Taft and small like James Madison; handsome like Franklin Pier...more
Jacqueline Lang
This is a really cool book about what it is to be president. It gives different facts that every President shares and also some quarky ones that the different Presidents have brought to the table. The illustrations are pretty cool and some of the anecdotes are comical and you will learn things that you won't from a regular text book from this book!
This book is all about being president. It talks about cool things about being President like having a pool and a bowling alley and being able to have lots of different pets. It also talks about the not so fun things like having to always be polite and having to do a lot of homework. It is a fun book for children and allows them to learn a little bit about being the President. I think this is a clever book because the things the book talks about are probably what children actually think the pres...more
Danielle Leider
This book is a creative way to go over the history of all the presidents of the United States. Each president had a different story going through office and while we as readers believe that it is all the same, the books brings up many interesting facts that set them all apart. Each page that the reader turns, they are learning something new about the history of the presidents. Obviously, each president has flaws and I loved that the author brought it up, but brought it back to a positive outlook...more
Jaycie Shearer
The illustrations in this book make it very interesting. The illustrations allow students to become familiar with political cartoons and presidents in general. The book gives factual information on different presidents in a fun and fascinating way. This is a good way to get information across to young students, as the information presented is very important for students to know. Not only was the information in the book true, but it was also interesting – where the text justifies the accuracy of...more
Sami Wilson
So You Want to Be President I thought would be a good book for older students who are working on a project about the many different presidents that we have had over the years. The book would fit perfectly with 5th or 6th grade curriculum. This book is very cheesy with its drawings and information. The pictures were very colorful and a little to cartoony for my taste but young children would love this book. I found the book to be a little distracting because of everything happening on each page o...more
Jamie Singer
This book talks about the good and bad things bad things about being a president. The book also has a lot of interesting facts, that I did not even recognize or know myself, such as there have been six different presidents with the name James. The president book talks about the good and bad things about the book. This book also includes George Bush and has been updated! The drawing are cartoon like, and sometimes include a collage of faces. The smiles will sometimes be really extenuated. I thoug...more
Mike Smith
This is an informative albeit simplistic book about our Presidents. Unfortunately it is unavoidably out-of-date already. Yet it should likely remain a useful teaching tool for young children especially because the drawings are quite fun. Good luck explaining Clinton's impeachment.
Maddie Sharp
Apr 29, 2014 Maddie Sharp added it
Shelves: tl307
This is a great story about what goes on in the White House. It is targeted more towards what is fun about the White rather than all the tough duties presidents must attack daily. I expected it to be educational as well as fun but that wasn’t the case. The drawings seem to come out of a comic book which makes it seem like the topic isn’t being taken serious which is unfortunate. In reality, the drawings are great but I don’t believe they’re suitable or appropriate for the topic. The whole concep...more
Karah Webb
This story is a brief history lesson on all of the United States presidents. Just about every president is talked about in one-way or another. The majority of this book is narrated in a humorous way because it is telling us the bad and the good in a very blunt way. Pros and cons of being a president are shared and short biographies are given of some of the presidents, some things are shared that were not necessarily taught in school. The illustrations in this book are very different because all...more
Michelle Lasser
It seems like this story is for all of those kids who are always saying "I'm going to be president some day!" Because, let's be honest we meet one everyday. It explains the good and bad things about being president and how each president was very unique! I do like the idea around the topic but I'm really not a fan of this one. The first thing that caught my eye were the illustrations. If I felt that they were creepy, I don't know what young children may have thought. I thought the book was a lit...more
Anna Larson
This book was definitely full of facts, but I think it was a little too long to be considered a children’s book. I am a huge history lover, so all the facts were interesting to my matured interests. I feel that if a student were to be reading this, they would get bored if they didn’t like history. One thing that was extra special about this book was the illustration. The paintings and the detail really told the story and helped the student realize what they were reading by the pictures. I feel l...more
Ashley Kerns
Apr 22, 2014 Ashley Kerns rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Students and Teachers
Recommended to Ashley by: TCH&LRN 307
This story is about the presidents of the United States. It shows good things and bad things about presidents. The book shows perspectives that might not be shown in real serious textbooks. This book is better than a textbook too. It enables children to learn about the presidents but doesn’t overwhelm them with information. It is very humorous as well as serious. The illustrations are done in all sorts of colors. The best part is how the presidents are drawn. The illustrations resemble the actua...more
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