Duck for President

Duck for President.  Written by Doreen Cronin.  Illustrated by Betsy Lewin.  Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004.  40 pages.  Publisher recommends for ages 4-8.  ISBN: 9780689863776.

This is a silly book.  Silly in a good way.  Silly in a way adults and kids can both appreciate. Duck starts out on Farmer Brown’s farm, where his jobs are to take out the trash, mow the lawn and grind coffee beans.  At the end of each day duck finds himself covered in bits of grass and espresso beans. So he decides to run for Farmer and he wins. But he discovers that running the farm is hard work, so he runs for governor. He wins by just a few votes. But he discovers that being governor is hard work, so he runs for president. He wins by just a few votes but he discovers that being president is hard work. He sees a help wanted ad for a duck that can mow the lawn and grind coffee beans, so he retreats to the farm to write his memoir.

The book is filled with political jokes adults will get. On the title page Duck raises his arms and holds his hands in victory signs like Richard Nixon did so many years ago. His poster in running for Farmer says he’s running for a “Kinder, Gentler Farm,” not far from George H. W. Bush’s slogan.

Duck does all the things a good candidate should do. He even “gave speeches that only other ducks could understand.”  And every time he wins a new job, he finds he’s covered from head to toe in gunk at the end of the day, the gunk just changes with each job.

As kids follow Duck’s races, they learn what’s involved in a political campaign, and how important each vote is, and one would hope they learn that if a duck can aspire to the highest office in the land, so can they!

The illustrations are very funny. They keep the story moving with their humor. They have details the reader won’t notice on the first or second or third reading. This means the book continues to be funny, time after time.


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