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It always warms my heart when I see historic stories from our past re-told in fun and modern ways. I especially adore stories that reveal fun stories about this Nation’s leaders that prove that Presidents are people too! That is exactly what the charming picture book, Old Whiskers Escapes! does.
Did you know that President Benjamin Harrison had a pet goat named Old Whiskers that lived on the White House grounds?
The goat often was spotted taking the president’s grandchildren on wagon rides on the lawn-which the grandkids obviously loved. The Old Whiskers Escapes! tale is actually inspired by a real-life conundrum; the day Old Whiskers escaped with Grandson Baby McKee in tow.
Can you imagine this combination of panic and hilarity? Obviously, this fiasco would be impossible in today’s age of Secret Service staffing and presidential security.
Upon discovering the pet goat was missing, President Harrison went running down Pennsylvania Avenue in hot pursuit, his top hat in one hand and cane in the other.
The story, delightful in its own right, will offer readers surprising insight into the popularity of presidential pets at the White House during the 19th Century, and the enduring relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren, even when “grandpa” is running the country.
“Uh-oh! When the clock struck 2, Baby McKee jumped with glee. It was time for the afternoon wagon ride on the White House lawn. The cart was ready. Old Whiskers was ready. But where was Grandpa?”
Written by Donna Griffin and illustrated by Gary Varvel, the book includes four pages of rich historical sidebars, including primary sources documenting the great goat caper, fun facts about presidential pets, and information about the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis, a museum home that tells the life story of America’s centennial president.
This picture book is suitable for ages 4-7 and can be found on Amazon.
Something To Do
Learn all about President Benjamin Harrison
President Harrison was the 23rd commander-in-chief of the United States and was a grandson of the ninth president, William Henry Harrison, creating the only grandfather-grandson duo to have held the office. Harrison was a forward thinker, a great orator, a lifelong scholar, and a truly brilliant man. Harrison addressed immigration issues and opened Ellis Island, dealt decisively with crisis and the environment, and calmed unrest overseas. He was a respected Civil War General, a man whose ethics were beyond reproach, and a Progressive who ushered in the modern presidency. The State of Indiana proudly claims him as Indiana’s only president!
He was also the picture of the doting grandpa. After inauguration in 1889, he and first lady, Caroline, brought their grandchildren to live with them at the White House. President Harrison would dress up as Santa Claus at Christmastime and personally waited on them at birthday parties. One especially favored grandson was reported to have received a full suit of armor for his birthday!
Our Nation’s 23rd President has also garnered increases interest recently thanks to the release of an Emmy-nominated documentary on PBS.
Did you know that, if President Harrison was alive today, he’d be 185 years old? Learn how the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is celebrating this August 20th milestone.
Let’s talk about Whiskers. Not Whiskers the goat, but a Presidential whisker craft! Q-Made has an adorable DIY Yarn Beard activity that fits this book review to a “T.”
Enjoy this book and watch out for runaway goats!
ONE MORE THING
As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories. Pulling books from shelves, and stories from pages is also an important act that will the habit of being life-long readers. Quality books with companion book extension activities are not only working to create special family time, it allows kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences. A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book.
This delightful children’s book that is co-written by Marilyn Scott-Waters and Valarie Budyar and it offers original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden.
Within the 120 pages (with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities)families will find many activities inspired by The Secret Garden that encourages them to step away from technology and enjoy getting hands and feet into the black earth of a family garden. This book will make a great gift and be the catalyst of many hours of family growth, learning and FUN!
Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE!