Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review - Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic


Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic

By: Leslie Kimmelman
Illustrated by: Victor Juhasz
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: April 2014
ISBN: 978-1585368303
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2014

No two ways about it, Eleanor loved dogs. Hot dogs that is. Things got rather busy after she married Franklin and there “wasn’t much time for hot dog roasts.” Franklin may have been president, but he didn’t travel well and that part of the job belonged to Eleanor. Off to Ohio, off to Idaho, and lest anyone forget there was California. She kept the president up on all the news and needs of the states. Times were tough in the 1930s and there were problems all around the world, not just in the states. Eleanor was mighty worried about that war that was just around the corner and there wasn’t time to think about hot dogs.

There was a lot of company showing up at home in the White House. Dreams of dogs were dancing in Eleanor's head, but no dogs on that table. Eleanor couldn’t ask anyone to pass the mustard because it simply didn’t go with the roast. The butlers smiled as they served up a banquet fit for a king, but while Franklin smiled, Eleanor ... well, she didn’t. Soon thoughts moved to real royalty when “the king and queen of England announced they were coming” in 1939. “To celebrate the first royal visit,” Eleanor told Franklin, “we need an all-American picnic.” Of course there had to be hot dogs on the menu, but soon the indignant mail began to come in. No dogs on the table! Would America nix the idea of Eleanor’s hot dog picnic?

This is the fun and funny tale of Eleanor and her hot dog picnic that children will love. Of course everyone loves hot dogs, but when the mail came in, most people didn’t figure they were fit for a king. Certainly not for a queen. This tale is very lively and when those letters arrive saying things like “Must you feed the queen hot dogs?,” the tension and fun begins. The colorful, animated caricature artwork brings the tale to life, just begging the reader to try and keep a straight face. I loved the way Eleanor’s charming personality exuded from the pages. Young students will learn several interesting vignettes about wartime history and American ties to the British monarchy. In the back of the book is a short, but interesting historical sketch of the Roosevelts and their illustrious visitors to Hyde Park.

Quill says: If you like a dollop of mustard on that hot dog, try reading about Eleanor and learn a dollop of American history!