A fun, clever introduction to the American political process.


Woodrow G. Washingtail is a mouse who likes helping others. He is an engaged dad, who also volunteers his time to others in his community. With encouragement from his fellow citizens, Woodrow ran for a seat on the town council. After terms as a state senator and governor, Woodrow decided to run for president of the United Mice of America. This is a much bigger undertaking, and readers follow Woodrow's campaign from his announcement to his inauguration. 

Parent Perspective:
This is a clever, well-done story of the US electoral process. There are tips of the cap to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and John F. Kennedy, to name, two, but most kids won't know that. I was amazed at how well the author sustained the rhyming pattern throughout the book. 

Despite the cute mice, this is not a book for younger children. It is text-heavy and introduces concepts that will be more understandable by kids in the fourth grade and older (9 and up).  One notable shortcoming of the book is that it does not mention the Electoral College within the main story. Even a brief reference would have been appropriate. There is a description of its role in the "Resources for Parents and Teachers," but it is easily overlooked. I would highly recommend that adults read the "Additional Information and Activities" page before reading with a child. There is very useful information there that can help kids see how the process represents our government, but that our Constitution doesn't have election "instructions." 

Upper elementary and middle-school kids are the perfect audiences. If you have a child interested in political science, definitely borrow this from the library. This is a "must-have" for all elementary and middle school libraries.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

In addition to the creative uses of the word "mouse" and the clever rhyme, readers will find this an informative, fun way to learn about elections and voting. 

Content Awareness Factors:

None. This is a text-heavy rhyming story. Although it would appear to be for younger children, it is intended for those who are learning about or familiar with the American political process.

Type of Book:
This is an informational picture book that uses a mouse's campaign for office as a way to teach civics and government.
Educational Themes:

From candidate to taking the oath of office, Woodrow explains the US election and voting processes. There are excellent resources in the back, as well as a sample contract should you want to use it.

The book outlines our processes well, and it could be very instructive - and eye-opening - to look at other countries and how their leaders are determined. Having the contrast with the American political system can not only reinforce concepts but help them understand that people around the world do things differently, even in democratic goverments. 

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
11 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
9 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. This is an excellent pick when there are elections coming up, but it is not a book you pick up to read "just because."

Title Woodrow For President: A Tail of Voting, Campaigns, and Elections
Author Peter W. Barnes
Publisher VSP Books © 1999
Illustrators Cheryl Shaw Barnes
ISBN 9781893622012
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.95
Genres History - US
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