The Kid Who Ran for President

The Kid Who Ran for President by Dan Gutman.  Scholastic, 2012 (first published 1996).  176 pages.  Publisher recommends for ages 8 and up.  ISBN: 9780545442138.

Adults have tried long enough to clean up the problems of the world.  It’s time to give kids a chance, so Judson Moon, a funny and irreverent twelve year old in Madison, Wisconsin, is running for president of the United States.  His friend, Lane Brainard, is his campaign manager.  Lane knows quite a lot about running for president.  Moon knows almost nothing.  Wisely, he agrees to let Lane make all his decisions from the moment he announces his candidacy until the end of the campaign.  June Syers, a surrogate grandmother to Moon, is his running mate, and Chelsea Daniels, one of the best looking girls in his class, is his “First Babe.”

Lane plants a story about Moon’s candidacy which is picked up by news outlets. Soon Moon is constantly followed by reporters. Kids all over the country get involved in the “lemonade party,” so called because they raise money for Moon by selling lemonade.  They also talk their parents into voting for Moon.

In the course of the campaign, Moon finds out what it’s like to be center of attention, how one goes about changing the Constitution (so kids can be president), what a presidential debate is like, and what it’s like to watch the returns on election night. He has a great time. Whenever the campaign gets too serious he reminds himself that he’s just doing this “as a goof.”  When Lane gets too serious, Moon begins joking.

The timing of this revised edition couldn’t be better. The book is funny and fun and a completely painless way to learn about not only a presidential election but how to make a change to the Constitution.

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