Rutherford B., Who Was He?

Rutherford B., Who Was He? : Poems about Our Presidents

3.86 (420 ratings by Goodreads)
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Forty-three men with forty-three passions, but with one thing in common: a presidential place in America's history. With her gift for unforgettable rhythm and innovative rhyme, Marilyn Singer brings the presidents of the United States to life-from Washington to Obama-and contextualizes them in their time. Illustrations by John Hendrix are full of hilarious wit and refined exuberance, and backmatter enriches the experience with short biographies, quotes by each president, and more.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 1 pages
  • 224 x 279 x 15mm | 476g
  • English
  • Illustrations, color
  • 1423171004
  • 9781423171003
  • 1,547,753

Review quote

This ambitious rhyming look at America's commander in chief is, like the presidencies themselves, a mixture of hits and misses. Singer's (Follow Follow) attempt both to be breezy and to give a sense of historical sweep can lead to a few awkward moments. "The most peace-loving leaders give up their credos," begins her salute to Wilson, "when faced with attacks from German torpedoes." But she doesn't shy from potentially touchy issues (Reagan's place in history, the Clinton "scandals, the trial, the chagrin"), and she infuses the familiar with new meaning, as in her verse for Teddy Roosevelt: "He took on greedy corporations/ and foreign powers with this trick: / A president should speak quite softly/ but always carry a very large stick." Hendrix's (A Boy Called Dickens) mixed-media, editorial-style portraits are handsome, often incorporating bold typographical quotes from the presidents. He imaginatively links one leader to another (a cut-paper stock market graph portrays the economic trends that led voters from Bush 41 to Clinton, for example) so readers see history not as a series of isolated moments, but as a continuous trajectory. Ages 6 8. (Dec.) PW"
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About Marilyn Singer

Marilyn Singer ( is the author of more than eighty books for children and young adults, including The Boy Who Cried Alien, I'm Your Bus, Tallulah's Tutu, Mirror Mirror, and Monster Museum. She lives with her husband and a variety of creatures in Brooklyn, NY, and Washington, CT.
John Hendrix ( lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife and two children, and teaches illustration at Washington University. He has won numerous awards for his drawings, and his illustrations have been featured in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. He is the author and illustrator of John Brown: His Fight for Freedom, which was named a Best Book of the Year by Publisher's Weekly, and the illustrator of Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale, an ALA Notable Book.
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Rating details

420 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 30% (126)
4 37% (154)
3 26% (110)
2 5% (19)
1 3% (11)
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