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White House Kids: The Perks, Pleasures, Problems, and Pratfalls of the Presidents' Children

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Living in America's most famous residence might seem glamorous at first--it's the most fun place any kid could live! There's a bowling alley in the basement, chefs are always available to prepare whatever you're craving, and sometimes presidential aides will even help you with your homework! But life isn't always easy for the youngsters who call the White House home. They' Living in America's most famous residence might seem glamorous at first--it's the most fun place any kid could live! There's a bowling alley in the basement, chefs are always available to prepare whatever you're craving, and sometimes presidential aides will even help you with your homework! But life isn't always easy for the youngsters who call the White House home. They're always in the spotlight, and those pesky Secret Service agents are always around. For every perk, there's a problem. From Washington to Obama, see the White House through the eyes of the children and grandchildren. Filled with wacky, weird, and wonderful stories, it shows what it's like to call the president Dad (or Granddad or Uncle). Find out what schools they went to, what mischief they caused, and what pets they had. There are first-person accounts from letters and interviews, fascinating photos, original illustrations, and even a section that follows the children after they left the White House.


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Living in America's most famous residence might seem glamorous at first--it's the most fun place any kid could live! There's a bowling alley in the basement, chefs are always available to prepare whatever you're craving, and sometimes presidential aides will even help you with your homework! But life isn't always easy for the youngsters who call the White House home. They' Living in America's most famous residence might seem glamorous at first--it's the most fun place any kid could live! There's a bowling alley in the basement, chefs are always available to prepare whatever you're craving, and sometimes presidential aides will even help you with your homework! But life isn't always easy for the youngsters who call the White House home. They're always in the spotlight, and those pesky Secret Service agents are always around. For every perk, there's a problem. From Washington to Obama, see the White House through the eyes of the children and grandchildren. Filled with wacky, weird, and wonderful stories, it shows what it's like to call the president Dad (or Granddad or Uncle). Find out what schools they went to, what mischief they caused, and what pets they had. There are first-person accounts from letters and interviews, fascinating photos, original illustrations, and even a section that follows the children after they left the White House.

30 review for White House Kids: The Perks, Pleasures, Problems, and Pratfalls of the Presidents' Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sunday

    Each chapter in White House Kids (Rhatigan, 2012) deals with a different aspect of being a child in this unusual setting. Rhatigan’s main ideas include how it is a privilege to be a White House kid and how there are definitely drawbacks. Students will get a sense of how security (Secret Service and all) has changed over time as well as other aspects of these children’s lives. This is a great opportunity for students to become familiar with the presidents of the U.S. through a different lens. The Each chapter in White House Kids (Rhatigan, 2012) deals with a different aspect of being a child in this unusual setting. Rhatigan’s main ideas include how it is a privilege to be a White House kid and how there are definitely drawbacks. Students will get a sense of how security (Secret Service and all) has changed over time as well as other aspects of these children’s lives. This is a great opportunity for students to become familiar with the presidents of the U.S. through a different lens. The anecdotes shared in each chapter are always in chronological order. I read this aloud to my daughter and, nearby, we kept a place mat with all of the presidents on it so she could refer to it and get a sense of where we were in the history of the U.S. as we went. Again – there are numerous ways to teach with this book and you could just read it aloud for enjoyment. I would definitely consider placing the pages on the document camera for students to view – lots of photographs of White House kids.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ines

    i received this book for Netgalley in exchange for an honest review i really appreciated this book , my 10 and 14 year daughters were hooked to the story, the book's format was not working well in our kindle so we had trouble reading, a lot of white spots and shadows . but overall we could arrive at the end.. the stories were very very interesting, we read all of them, it was a pity that not all the pictures were visible in our kindle... i will try to buy the paperback as soon will be on stores!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hunter Cole

    This book is great for when you want to learn about what the president kids did in the white house.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rusty

    Fun and informative.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: WHITE HOUSE KIDS: THE PERKS, PLEASURES, PROBLEMS, AND PRATFALLS OF THE PRESIDENTS’ CHILDREN by Joe Rhatigan and Jay Shin, ill., Charlesbridge/Imagine!, 96p., ISBN: 978-1-936140-80-0 “While you do your homework upstairs, there will be hundreds of people downstairs working. That’s not including the more than six thousand people who come to visit your new house every day. And, oh yeah, there are armed guards at every entrance and a SWAT team on the roof.” In introducing us to the live Richie’s Picks: WHITE HOUSE KIDS: THE PERKS, PLEASURES, PROBLEMS, AND PRATFALLS OF THE PRESIDENTS’ CHILDREN by Joe Rhatigan and Jay Shin, ill., Charlesbridge/Imagine!, 96p., ISBN: 978-1-936140-80-0 “While you do your homework upstairs, there will be hundreds of people downstairs working. That’s not including the more than six thousand people who come to visit your new house every day. And, oh yeah, there are armed guards at every entrance and a SWAT team on the roof.” In introducing us to the lives of some of the young people who have inhabited the White House as the offspring, grandkids, and other young relatives of Presidents, author Joe Rhatigan asks, “Would you trade the life you’re currently living for instant celebrity and incredible adventures? Would you say good-bye to all your friends, your school, and your neighborhood to live in a giant mansion?” Not meant to be a comprehensive book on the history of all kids who have lived in the White House, this edition is, instead, a fun read filled with anecdotes and quirky facts about some of those kids and about the mansion itself. I’m betting that lots of these stories that are included will spur further interest in the various episodes of American history portrayed here. For instance, I recall reading in books about the Corps of Discovery Expedition how those famous explorers shipped live specimens and lots of artifacts back to the White House. Here you get the opposite perspective -- of being a kid in the White House when Lewis and Clark sent a black-tailed prairie dog your way, and Zebulon Pike followed up with a pair of grizzly bear cubs (which Thomas Jefferson permitted to be kept in the House for a couple of months). I love the mischievous sort of stories found here. For instance: “Once, while exploring the White House attic, Tad and Willie discovered where all the cords for the house’s bell system were located. (The president and first lady used the bells to summon staff.) Tad pulled on them all at the same time, making every bell in the house ring. Servants, Cabinet members, and secretaries ran all around in mass confusion, imagining the worst sort of emergencies, until the president suggested someone look for Tad. There is no record of any punishment.” “Quentin Roosevelt, Teddy’s youngest son, attempted to cheer up his sick brother Archie by sneaking Archie’s pony, Algonquin, into the White House, stuffing him in the elevator, and taking him to the sick boy’s room – all without getting caught (or getting in trouble!)” As one who has been intrigued throughout my life by the likes of Caroline, Amy, Chelsea, and those two beautiful girls who are currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I had a great time reading about them, and about kids in other, long ago eras who grew up calling the White House home. Richie Partington Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com [email protected] Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_... http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/facult...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Klock

    What a fun little book. The White House Kids: The Perks, Pleasures, Problems, and Pratfalls of the Presidents' Children by Joe Rhatigan and illustrated by Jay Shinn explores the lives of children, grandchildren, or other youthful relations of the Presidents during their time in office from George Washington to Barack Obama. This colorful book with interesting blurbs, photographs, and quotations looks at the various Presidents who occupied the White House over the years and their relationship wit What a fun little book. The White House Kids: The Perks, Pleasures, Problems, and Pratfalls of the Presidents' Children by Joe Rhatigan and illustrated by Jay Shinn explores the lives of children, grandchildren, or other youthful relations of the Presidents during their time in office from George Washington to Barack Obama. This colorful book with interesting blurbs, photographs, and quotations looks at the various Presidents who occupied the White House over the years and their relationship with the children who accompanied them. Whether spoiled and pampered or made to do chores, life at the White House was like living in a fish bowl with the curious butting into the first family's personal lives through newspaper articles, paparazzi, or White House Tours (there was even a time when folks could come and go as they pleased with outrageous hijinks including peeking into private bedrooms). Of course, now the secret service watches over the children, even when they attend school. Speaking of school, the sorts of education experienced by White House kids varied greatly from Tutors, to Private Schools to Public Schools to no formal schooling at all. While some of the children were well behaved, others were little tyrants who ran roughshod over the White House, disturbing the President or playing pranks on visitors. Some of the kids were more popular than their parents providing numerous antics which make for amusing reading. My favorite story is when Theodore Roosevelt's daughter Alice cut her wedding cake with a sword, setting a tradition for future White House weddings. Amongst the mainly humorous tidbits and famous firsts, there is also the tragedy of children dying while their parents were in office. The appendix has a complete list of all the children and what happened to them later in life as well as a list of the Presidents and First Ladies. There is so much information jammed into this book that it is hard to keep everybody straight. I feel the list of Presidents should be expanded to include the list of the First Children (in addition to their short biographical sketches). There is also an extensive bibliography plus an index which would be helpful for research projects. My main complaint is that the information is not chronological, but moves back and forth through time with various themes to sort the relevant information. However, this book does give the reader the opportunity to see history up close and personal revealing White House tidbits focusing on the littlest of residents. Whether for fun or information, the graphic format will appeal to school aged children (as well as their parents) who will enjoy reading about their counterparts lucky enough to live at the White House. Four stars. Thank you to Netgalley and Charlesbridge Publishing for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Reid

    White House Kids: The Perks, Pleasures, and Pratfalls of the Presidents’ Children by Joe Rhatigan (Imagine Publishing, 2012) provides a fun and colorful picture of the history of children in the White House. From George Washington’s step-daughter to the Obama girls, White House Kids gives an interesting portrait of how life changed for the children of the nation’s most well known public official. It’s not easy being a kid, and being thrust in the limelight while still a child obviously brings an White House Kids: The Perks, Pleasures, and Pratfalls of the Presidents’ Children by Joe Rhatigan (Imagine Publishing, 2012) provides a fun and colorful picture of the history of children in the White House. From George Washington’s step-daughter to the Obama girls, White House Kids gives an interesting portrait of how life changed for the children of the nation’s most well known public official. It’s not easy being a kid, and being thrust in the limelight while still a child obviously brings an entirely new set of difficulties. I’m not usually interested in pop culture celebrity biographies, but White House Kids provided an interesting contrast to other celebrity biographies out there. Because of the historical nature of the White House and the presidents, reading this book gave historical insight into the presidents. A number of things surprised me about White House Kids, mostly because of the breadth it covered through history and the interest it provides for youth today who may be interested in history, the presidents, as well as current “celebrity kids” like Malia and Sasha Obama. Obviously, the presidents of the United States are humans, and White House Kids gave us a glimpse of the “parent” side of the presidents through history by focusing on the kids who may or may not have wanted to follow their father to the top office in the land. With full color pictures, call-uts, bullets, and informational boxes, White House Kids is designed well for its young middle-grade audience. It’s an enjoyable and trivia-packed book. Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. More detailed review on my blog

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    White House Kids by Joe Rhatigan is a nominee for the 14-15 South Carolina Children's Book Award. Unlike many nonfiction books, White House Kids is targeted directly to kids. From the very first page, the author makes it clear just who his target audience is. He charges young readers to peruse this book and decide whether or not they would like to be a White House kid. Young readers will enjoy learning that many kids who grew up in this famed residence weren't exactly angels. As a matter of fact, White House Kids by Joe Rhatigan is a nominee for the 14-15 South Carolina Children's Book Award. Unlike many nonfiction books, White House Kids is targeted directly to kids. From the very first page, the author makes it clear just who his target audience is. He charges young readers to peruse this book and decide whether or not they would like to be a White House kid. Young readers will enjoy learning that many kids who grew up in this famed residence weren't exactly angels. As a matter of fact, quite a few were troublemakers...and what kid can't relate to that! (I especially liked reading about the exploits of Teddy Roosevelt's kids. It seems my favorite president had some rather rambunctious children.) Readers will also learn that it's not easy being a White House kid. As one kid put it, "it's like living in a fishbowl." Privacy is nonexistent, parents are always traveling, the press and public always want a piece of these kids, and people often say bad things about their families or even the kids themselves. Peppered with primary sources and interesting stories, White House Kids is an excellent addition to classroom and library collections. It is a thoroughly entertaining read (even for people like me who really don't like most nonfiction) and shines a light on an experience that few Americans really think about. An interesting classroom exercise might be reading this book together and then having students write opinion pieces on why they would or would not want to be a White House kid, using evidence from the book to support their arguments.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jayne Wilson

    Rhatigan, J. (2012). White house kids: The perks, pleasures, problems, and pratfalls of the presidents’ children. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. By: Jayne Wilson Reference Type: Biographical Reference Call Number: 975 Description: Researched stories about the lives of the presidents’ children Review Source: Schultz, J. (2012). White House Kids: The Perks, Pleasures, Problems, and Pratfalls of the Presidents' Children. School Library Journal, 58(8), 94. Relevance and Relationship: $14.95; Upper elementa Rhatigan, J. (2012). White house kids: The perks, pleasures, problems, and pratfalls of the presidents’ children. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. By: Jayne Wilson Reference Type: Biographical Reference Call Number: 975 Description: Researched stories about the lives of the presidents’ children Review Source: Schultz, J. (2012). White House Kids: The Perks, Pleasures, Problems, and Pratfalls of the Presidents' Children. School Library Journal, 58(8), 94. Relevance and Relationship: $14.95; Upper elementary students regularly have to do biographical reports Purpose: A biographical reference about kids for kids, high interest Validity: Professionally reviewed and recommended (School Library Journal), a high interest title Format: Print; mainly text, photographs, illustrations, appendix Arrangement and Presentation: Begins with an overview of young occupants, pages include sidebars; appendices include information about children’s lives after the White House, and information about the presidents. Diversity: Would appeal to a wide range of readers, Grades 5-8, short and succinct paragraphs allow for a variety of reading levels

  10. 4 out of 5

    Connie D

    Rating this is difficult because this is a children's book and I'm an adult, but I almost think this book would be more interesting to parents, especially those interested in history, than children. Some aspects, such as assassinations, would be challenging for children, and many of the quotes and reflections of former White House kids are from an adult point of view. While I was interested in the children's adult lives, I doubt most kids would be. On the other hand, the format, with lots of sho Rating this is difficult because this is a children's book and I'm an adult, but I almost think this book would be more interesting to parents, especially those interested in history, than children. Some aspects, such as assassinations, would be challenging for children, and many of the quotes and reflections of former White House kids are from an adult point of view. While I was interested in the children's adult lives, I doubt most kids would be. On the other hand, the format, with lots of short tidbits, would be appealing for children (and to adults). Set in a somewhat different format, this might be most appropriately a teen/YA book. I'd recommend all photographs instead of the illustrations which seem a little hokey. (Incidentally, the print is also quite small for juvenile non-fiction.) All in all, this is quite entertaining, with great anecdotes and quotes. I was amazed at how active some of the kids (and presidents) were and at the White House life in general. I appreciated the kids' reflections on the challenges of being a child of the highly criticized person living in the White House.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    This title gives intermediate readers a personal view of life in the White House told from the perspectives of 70 of the children and grandchildren who called it home. Opening pages provide an introduction to the building and what life inside it is like. From Washington to Obama, lively text covers the changes in White House life over the years, as well as some elements that are still relatively the same. First-person narratives, quotes and interview excerpts describe the pros and cons of living This title gives intermediate readers a personal view of life in the White House told from the perspectives of 70 of the children and grandchildren who called it home. Opening pages provide an introduction to the building and what life inside it is like. From Washington to Obama, lively text covers the changes in White House life over the years, as well as some elements that are still relatively the same. First-person narratives, quotes and interview excerpts describe the pros and cons of living a fishbowl existence. Readers are given an insider’s view of some of the unique features of the building itself and the personalities of the families that occupied it. Interesting facts are sprinkled throughout and are complemented by photographs and patriotic visuals that give the title a scrapbook feel. Back matter includes two appendices (one reveals what became of the children mentioned in the book and the other lists the Presidents and First Ladies), an index and bibliography. It’s a handsome volume, ideal for browsing, that deserves a place in any library.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Engaging, fun and informative, White House Kids is about the children who have lived in the White House while their fathers were President. Targeted towards middle school children I think kids and adults alike can enjoy this fact-filled book of the amazing and the ordinary world of children being children in the hotbed of Washington. The book asks a very direct question: Would you like to grow up in the White House? and from there invites us in to explore what it might be like. We learn about th Engaging, fun and informative, White House Kids is about the children who have lived in the White House while their fathers were President. Targeted towards middle school children I think kids and adults alike can enjoy this fact-filled book of the amazing and the ordinary world of children being children in the hotbed of Washington. The book asks a very direct question: Would you like to grow up in the White House? and from there invites us in to explore what it might be like. We learn about the animals, the playground, the parties, what is is like to go to school, to church, make friends. etc. We see how different children handle the pressures of having to be "good" to be "on" all the time, i.e Amy Carter despised it and how each family tried to shield their children from the spotlight. All in all a good and enjoyable read. Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to review this book for an honest opinion.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Lawler

    Not every child who has lived in the White House is noted, but enough of them are to give the reader an excellent portrait of what life was like for the children who called this famous mansion "home". Four chapters are organized by theme, and they are generously illustrated with both photographs and illustrations. The information on the pages can be factoids, collected anecdotes from several children about one topic such as life with the Secret Service, or in depth information about one person, Not every child who has lived in the White House is noted, but enough of them are to give the reader an excellent portrait of what life was like for the children who called this famous mansion "home". Four chapters are organized by theme, and they are generously illustrated with both photographs and illustrations. The information on the pages can be factoids, collected anecdotes from several children about one topic such as life with the Secret Service, or in depth information about one person, such as Alice Roosevelt. There are two appendices, one which provides information about the post White House activities of the children mentioned in the book, with the second providing the name of the President, the First Lady, the years encompassing the presidency, and the birth and death dates. There is an extensive bibliography as well as a detailed index. Great book!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    An interesting take on a topic not overly published. This book talks about the children and grandchildren of all of our Presidents-past and present. Usually books of this nature talk about the hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc. This book is intriguing in that it discusses both the perk and pitfalls of being a First Kid. It is written in a atheistically pleasing manner and the content is mixed in with photographs and drawings throughout. Every few pages has a “Did you know?” sidebar and some “Imag An interesting take on a topic not overly published. This book talks about the children and grandchildren of all of our Presidents-past and present. Usually books of this nature talk about the hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc. This book is intriguing in that it discusses both the perk and pitfalls of being a First Kid. It is written in a atheistically pleasing manner and the content is mixed in with photographs and drawings throughout. Every few pages has a “Did you know?” sidebar and some “Imagine living in the White House when” commentaries. Fun, colorful, and wildly informative. Price: $12.76 Suitability: Grades 5-12 Illustrations: Photos Genre: Non-fiction Possible Censorship Issues: N/A Call #: 973.09 RHA

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    A fascinating little book about some of the children who have lived in the White House. Fewer than 50 people have been president, but more than 200 children have called the White House home, and this is the story of their lives. First-person accounts, letters, interviews, many photographs and illustrations, anecdotes and descriptions, all combine to make this a very readable and entertaining book, aimed at children but also of interest to adults. Each chapter concentrates on a different aspect o A fascinating little book about some of the children who have lived in the White House. Fewer than 50 people have been president, but more than 200 children have called the White House home, and this is the story of their lives. First-person accounts, letters, interviews, many photographs and illustrations, anecdotes and descriptions, all combine to make this a very readable and entertaining book, aimed at children but also of interest to adults. Each chapter concentrates on a different aspect of life there, and then at the end there’s a brief summary of what happened to each of the child inhabitants mentioned after they’d left. An unusual and original book, both educative and good fun.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Would you want to live in the White House? That is the question the author poses to his audience. Directed at middle school kids, this book gives readers a taste of what it would be like to live in the White House by providing anecdotes and stories about the kids that have lived there throughout the years. For kids that like history and like to read about people their own age, this is a good book to read. Received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I read this because it was on the Children's Choice 2013 IRA list for 5th and 6th grades. This book chronicles what living in the White House might have been like for the children who have lived there. It tells about the lives of many of the kids, as well as the perks and problems of living on the public eye. There are many quotes from the First Kids themselves over the years.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    Really interesting look at the lives of the First Kids. Tells about their schooling, their antics, their social activities and what they thought about living in the White House. There is a lot of really interesting stuff in this book. I think I was most fascinated by the Roosevelt kids both FDR's and Teddy's. These kids seem like they actually enjoyed life in the White House.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Salsabrarian

    "Once you've been a White House Kid, you'll always be a White House kid." This quote by former White House kid Julie Nixon Eisenhower captures all the good and bad of living in the nation's most famous home. Fun facts and family portraits abound in this graphically attractive book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Very interesting as well. I've always been fascinated reading about the different presidents and their families. A lot of neat tidbits for kids to learn. I think 3rd grade and up would do okay with this book. The younger grades would love seeing the pictures and reading the captions.

  21. 4 out of 5

    PWRL

    O

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beth Gordon

    Though this is geared toward kids, I really liked it. It's full of interesting tidbits and stories about First Kids.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Great book for upper elementary school students. Lots of pictures as well as cool graphics that would catch a kid's eye. I loved the trivia! My 8th grade students did as well :)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

    Interesting trivia-type book about children who have called the White House home through the years.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    It's a good book for children interested in what it's like to live in the White House. Nothing surprising, but entertaining.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    Reviewed for professional publication.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dena

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynndy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

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