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

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  8,110 ratings  ·  894 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, 48 pages
Published August 19th 2012 by Philomel Books (first published January 1st 2000)
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,110 ratings  ·  894 reviews

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Yes indeed, I do know that Judith St. George's So You Want to be President? won the Caldecott Medal for David Small's accompanying illustrations. However, and this is a really massive and personal however, I have seldom had a more negative and viscerally guttural reaction to a picture book. And while the book cover already kind of indicated that I would not likely consider So You Want to be President? in any way a favourite, I truly and really did not expect either the narrative or the illustrat ...more
The illustration not one of my favorites and I even found the distorted faces a bit disturbing at times. I didn't mind some of the illustrations, like the cover art, but my young son saw only the cover and called it a "scary book" and I was careful that he didn't see anything else! I'm really not sure why this won the Caldecott, though I could appreciate the effort that went into the illustrations. I also was not a huge fan of the narrative. The beginning grated on me as it was in that
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(The edition I read takes us through Clinton.)

Despite what others have opined in the Children's Books group, I actually sort of like this. I certainly wouldn't give it a Caldecott, but it is fun, and it does remind the reader that these men are people, with their own priorities and motivations. I learned some interesting and relevant things from the text, eg "Warren Haring was a handsome man, but he was one of our worst Presidents. (He gave government jobs to his crooked friends.) 'I am not fit
Rebecca Ann
May 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
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
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Mon Maryum
Feb 21, 2017 marked it as won-t-read
To be a president, you have to be polite.........Ah, I see it was the pre-Trump-era book. Karma can get you, but often, the bullies in authority get up by all the attention they get because bad news spread faster than the good. And getting attention helps to grow followers. This is the I took from Trump, no wonder good-hearted politicians are hard to find
Paige Scott
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
1) This is such a good book to use in the classroom! This book talks about the presidents and different fun facts about them, it is filled with humor and wit, and fun facts that you would not know without reading the book. I liked it too because it shows the students an inside scoop at what being the president is really like, and is a fun way for them to learn history.
2) Age Level: 7-10 years old, Grade Level: 2nd-5th grade
3) Appropriate classroom use of this book would be used during History to
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I liked this book OK, but it is certainly not one of my favorite Caldecotts (like Rapunzel). I was not particularly put off by the caricatures of the presidents; and I have liked David Small's illustrations in other books, such as Imogene's Antlers. Anyway, I found most of the illustrations comical rather than creepy. This book was not intended to be a resource book on the presidents for school reports; it was intended to show children how very different the many presidents were in a humorous wa ...more
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: caldecott
2001 Caldecott Winner - Favorite Illustration: The last page, 46-47, where you can see Lincoln through the doorway of the White House. This is the only illustrations that doesn't have the big-headed, cartoon-like illustrations of the presidents and the only one I actually like.

The last few pages of this book are great, but the beginning 3/4 of the book are more like "random, meaningless Presidential trivia." I would very much liked to have seen more realistic and detailed illustrations as well a
Laura Ann
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! The illustrations were great, and it provided many facts for children to learn about our past presidents. It gave facts that children might not have ever heard or thought about like how many presidents had the same first name or how many presidents had siblings. Judith St. George provides an entertaining way to teach children about presidents instead of just giving them the same facts. This book paired with David Small's illustrations is a perfect way to teach children about t ...more
Luisa Knight
This is full of a lot of fun facts and comical quotes. You may or may not agree with a few political comments towards the end but they're not big enough to be a hindrance to enjoying this book.

I got a kick out of this quote: "Truman's Vice President, Alben Barkley, told about a man who had two sons. One son went to sea, the other was elected Vice President. Neither was ever heard from again."

Ages: 7 - 10

Cleanliness: Mentions hard cider and wine. Shows an illustration of Taft naked and being low
Meredith Holley
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
So You Want to Be President?
By: Judith St. George
Illustrated by: David Small
Publication Date: 2000
“The president doesn’t have to eat yucky vegetables.” In this Caldecott medal winter, George takes the reader on a lengthy journey of all the presidents from George Washington to William Clinton. Smalls illustrations of the presidents are drawn with thin lines and colored with watercolor paint. The cartoonish- styled presidents are the best part about this book. In my opinion the best picture is
Mar 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
(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
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-stack
So, You Want to be President? is a beautifully illustrated picture book that discusses interesting facts about our past presidents in a way that children can relate to. Nonfiction texts are often perceived as unengaging and boring to children, however, this book captivates students in its watercolor caricatures and comical representations of our country’s leaders. This book focuses on a different aspect of presidents’ lives on each page, including topics students can relate to such as age, heigh ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liz Exo
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
The intention of this book is to share humorous facts about the US presidents across the years and to share light hearted differences amongst the presidents. While I believe the intentions were pure and innocent, this book is not quite accessible for a diverse audience. On one page the author comically points out that, "if you want to be President, it might help if your name is James...[John]...[William]...[George]." From a multicultural perspective, this is sending a message to our diverse stud ...more
Jimmy Reyes
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What makes this book especially unique is how Judith St. George’s own research in digging up details and little unknown facts about past President’s lives goes beyond just memorizing what President’s were known for and their legacy in the oval office. Instead of being a boring book of facts that most children will draw upon from their social studies textbook, the author introduces each President from a younger perspective so that readers can naturally relate to many of the lives of each Presiden ...more
(NS) Lisa
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
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
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
This book is mostly good with a couple oddities that are mildly annoying.

One of the illustrations depicts presidents who were impeached and the illustration includes both Nixon and Clinton walking out of the white house looking dejected. Of course, that isn't really a historically accurate picture of what really happened as Clinton was not booted from the white house. The text doesn't state that he was, but, the illustration implies it.

The book has a copyright date of 2000, so it was all resol
Lisa  Skripps
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
A fun account of the first 41 Presidents. It's a long book for children, so we read it over the course of two bedtimes. But it is loaded with interesting facts and hilarious, yet recognizably accurate illustrations of the Presidents and our girls enjoyed it.

In the edition we read, President George W. Bush and (of course) President Obama weren't included, so I ad libbed in their parts where appropriate.

I think this is a great book for learning about our Presidents, with humor and interesting fa
Michelle Lasser
Jan 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Jennifer Varela
Apr 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: tl-307
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
Pablo Coppola
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a history buff, I found this picture book highly intriguing. It’s a great way to teach young readers the Presidential history of our founding fathers, along with historic documents such as the United States Constitution. Although most young readers don’t get excited over historical texts, the illustrations do a great job in keeping the reader intrigued by it’s humorous angle.

Readers will not only learn about the Presidential job but also learn about past Presidents along the way too. For tho
Margaret Chind
This was a recommendation from our Home School in the Woods Hands-on History Activity Pak: U.S. Elections. We had fun reading now this book. With cartoon-characture art and fun facts of the presidents from Geo. Washington to Bill Clinton (including mention of impeachment) this book has lots to intrigue. I am not a fan of this type of art but my children were intrigued and entertained.

We bought this one from ThriftBooks after finding it on multiple recommended lists. In my opinion I thing the te
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a summary about most of the US presidents. It gives interesting facts about many of the presidents, especially things that most people may not know. I feel like "So You Want to Be President?" is a great book to encourage kids to dream and strive to be anybody, it really shows them that you don't have to be like "this" or "that" in order to be the President of the US or any other profession.
Jocelyn Koff
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is about the presidents of the United States. It lists facts about each president that most kids would not know and puts it into an easy way for them to understand. The pictures that are in this book are very cartoon like. It is nice to learn different quirky facts about the presidents that I wasn't aware of before.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So You Want to be President is filled with humor and facts. I think this book would be good for elementary students because it talks about America's past presidents and provides background information of their characteristics or quirky habits. As a future teacher, I believe you can do a lot of lessons with this book.
Jacqueline Lang
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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!
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