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So You Want to Be President? DVD Review by Courtney Larson

Scholastic Storybook Treasures

So You Want to Be President? is a DVD that contains animations of popular Scholastic books: So You Want to Be President?, Madam President, My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D.C., and I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote. These are all picture books, and the pictures have been gently animated. The words appear on screen, and change color as the narrator reads them, though this feature can be turned off. The video is 76 minutes long and is recommended for ages 5-10.

So You Want to Be President? contains fun facts about the presidents, such as the number of siblings they had, if they could dance, their spending habits, and any pets they had. The book this video is based on was written in 2000, however, so information on former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama is missing.

My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D.C. is written from the viewpoint of Senator Edward Kennedy's dog, Splash. The book covers a few of the important buildings in Washington and their purpose. Then it takes the audience through a typical day of the Senator. Much of the story revolves around the passing of an education bill that Senator Kennedy is spearheading, and he is made out to be a hero of education in this story through the passing of this bill.

Madam President is a story about the many duties of the president, and a little girl dreaming of fulfilling them. Some of the duties are serious (choosing a cabinet, attending state funerals) while others aren't (kissing babies, vetoing tuna salad). The story is brimming with tongue-in-cheek humor, such as "The president is the most important person in the whole-wide world!" followed by the statement "and the most humble."

I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote is based on the true story of Esther Morris. She was a very determined person throughout her life, and whenever she was told she couldn't do something, she responded with "Yes, I can." In the end, she earned Wyoming women the right to vote, and she was the first woman to hold public office (she became a judge) in the country.

I was concerned when I saw the four titles featured on this DVD. I thought they might have a strong political slant to them instead of merely being about the United States political system and history. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to find that of the four books, only My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D.C., held any sort of bias. I have five sons, ages 11, 10, 8, 6, and 4, and they all enjoyed this DVD. I like that the words are shown on the screen to encourage reading, and I like that the pace of the animation is slow. Overall, I would recommend So You Want to Be President? to go along with a United States history study or simply as fun DVD to watch.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2010