Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Dad: John McCain by Meghan McCain (illustrated by Dan Andreasen)

I'm not entirely convinced that My Dad, John McCain hit the New York Times bestseller list entirely on it's credentials as a children's book. The fact that it's about Republican presidential candidate John McCain - and penned by his daughter, Meghan - might have given sales a push!

But that doesn't mean it should be relegated to the realms of political puffery. My Dad, John McCain is a cute kid's book (that promises to be quite a collector's piece if John McCain actually wins the Presidency.)

Meghan McCain penned a very touching book that oozes love and admiration for her father. She reverently retells the story of his days as a troublemaker in the naval academy, his heroics on the flight deck of the USS Forestal and his resilience as a prisoner of war - arguing that this strength of character makes him an exceptional candidate to become the President of the United States.

Except she doesn't use all those long words.

Meghan writes for children well - she has a very effective way of illustrating difficult concepts through examples that youngsters will relate to. For example, she explains that McCain got into trouble at Naval Academy for 'skipping school' (leaving out the drinking and hell-raising) and illustrates the horrors of McCain's incarceration by the Viet Cong by telling us how he once found a chicken's foot in his lunch (which is more kid-friendly than telling them about the beatings, whippings and torture he endured.)

The story is brought to life through full colour illustrations by Dan Andreasen, who does a serviceable enough job, although the pictures lack the details kids love to peer at and some of them - especially his illustration of the fire on the USS Forestal - are a bit vague and confusing. The clouds of noxious smoke he painted looked more like trees in the background, making the whole picture look like it was set in a park, rather than the deck of an aircraft carrier.

All in all, though, the book is a satisfying package and I think young kids will enjoy learning a bit more about the grumpy-looking 'McCain' guy they see on television (and who their parents are always talking about.)

Meghan's book highlights McCain's character strengths - his honesty, his bravery and his resilience. For kids (and quite a few registered Republicans) it's values like this that make a man a good candidate to run the country - not his politics and policies.


Anonymous said...

What's up with this
Megan's pursejacking
and picking her purse over her life?

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