See How They Run by Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by Elwood H. Smith (Ages 9-12)

A lighthearted, fact-filled look at elections in the United States. The engaging conversational narrative and funny cartoons lend appealing irreverence to a topic that can sometimes seem too dry and serious. Coverage includes the electoral college, campaigning, and many other aspects of elections, noting the flaws and absurdities in our system along with the many positive aspects. The text moves back and forth through time within each subject, offering useful and varied historical examples. A section on inaugurations makes reference to William Henry Harrison's two-hour speech, Bill Clinton's night of dancing, and Andrew Jackson's rowdy White House party. Plentiful illustrations utilize humor to demonstrate content, as in the depiction of a man with elongated arms straddling a state line and voting in two states at once. Even the photographs of presidents feature an amusing caption or word balloon. The final chapter addresses the role of kids, offering suggestions for involvement that range from writing letters to "bugging your parents." Informative, entertaining, and timely, this is a fine example of how well-conceived humor can make a complicated topic comprehensible and even inspiring.

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