Saturday, November 3, 2012

If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier

If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier, illustrated by Lynne Avril

Rating: 3 stars

This morning I had the lovely and fun opportunity to catch up with my dear old dad.  (He's actually not that old, and has been wise for several decades.)  Just the two of us--our spouses stayed home, no grandkid interrupted us, I didn't have to share him with any Army pal.  It wasn't a total break from adulthood as our topics of conversation ranged from parenting to partnering, life after my stay-at-home stint to life after general-ship.  I can't tell you how lucky I feel for having the dad I have; my eyes are filled with tears and my heart is full of sadness for those who are, for whatever reason, without a dad.

Dad and I decided to spend the morning "hiking" around the Capitol.  It was an excuse to hang out together while taking in the sights and have a blessedly long time to talk.  Included in the many things we have in common: hiking at ridiculously fast paces, running stupidly long distances, and reading a crazy number of books.  Dad puts me to shame on this last one, but I have three little ones, and his two are grown.  So...maybe I'll catch up in a few decades!

Kate for President!
As we rounded the curve into the FDR Memorial, we saw a little bookstore for book-loving tourists.  Our conversation had already turned to books several times; I was worried we might stay in this warm little store looking at books for the rest of the morning instead of huffing around the mall in the chilly morning.  The children's section was pretty good, and I couldn't help but buy a few election books for our trio.

And this one--check out the cover--how could I NOT buy a book with Ben's name on it...literally?!  While a fine book to teach older kids about the Presidential election, Catherine Stier doesn't do a great job of making the many facts involved digestible for tykes, or at least served in small bites between an age-appropriate, engaging story line.

My other problem with this book is sort of silly: Every third or fourth page, the young Presidential candidate changes.  It is as if Stier couldn't decide whether the kid candidate should be black or white, a girl or boy, so she doesn't decide and throws them all in.  Ben and Lorelei were both confused.  But they listened happily anyway, and checked out the illustrations of debates, campaign signs, Capitol building, and Air Force One.  There is a  LOT of information on these pages!

I admit that finding this book and the others was not the highlight of my day.  You probably already figured that...
Having a beer with my Dad.
Spending the morning walking all around the monuments with my dad, chatting and laughing with him, crying a little and philosophizing about things much, much bigger than ourselves...  I am a very lucky daughter.  It was fun, too, to tell Lorelei and Ben (and Kiefer too) that I was hanging out with my dad for the day--that even as an adult I valued our relationship so much I was investing time away from my own family to strengthen that bond.  I sure hope one day, 30 years from now, they'll want to walk around the mall with me, listening and talking and questioning and laughing about all the wonderful and tough things in life.

My fingers are crossed (please, please, please let this wish come true!)...

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