Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Senator and Me by Senator Edward M. Kennedy

My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D.C. by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, illustrated by David Small

Rating: 5 stars

Of all the children's books about politics, this is by far my favorite.  I don't mean to judge a book by its cover, but...c'mon, check out that cover.  Aren't you in love with that friendly canine already?  Just admit it...that pup is ca-yooot!

Without a doubt, David Small's fantastic illustrations once again make a good story into a fantastic book.  But the story alone would be pretty good.  Splash, Senator Kennedy's Portuguese Water Dog, is proud to be a senator's dog.  He's happy to explain the ins and outs of politics to readers who are just a little bigger than he is.

"If you want to serve your country, Washington, D.C., is a good place to be.  Washington is the capital of the United States.  The President lives there.  The Supreme Court works there.  The Congress--made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate--meets there.  And they all try to make our country a better, fairer, safer place for people and animals."
The real Splash.
(Oh, and the real Senator Kennedy.)

That's how it starts.  I was already hooked on the cover, but add that dose of patriotism and service...?  I'm a goner.

Just as the book gets a little serious about how a senator is elected, enter a batch of puppies from which the Kennedys select Splash.  And, from that point on (after, I'm guessing, some high-quality obedience training), Splash accompanies Senator Kennedy to his office in the Russell Senate Office Building where he sits through meetings, travelings on the underground tram, attends press conferences (as still as a statue), receives pets galore, and gets the quarreling committee meeting members' attention by howling.  The only place Splash is not permitted to go is on the Senate floor, where the Senators vote on a law to improve the quality of schools.

This is a great book with a few more lessons on our government for kids.  You can even write Splash at his email address (though I wish he wasn't so high-tech...can't he have a "snail mail" address?!), which is .


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