Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Theodore Roosevelt: Bear of a President

Theodore Roosevelt: Bear of a President

Nathan Olson
Illustrator:  Cynthia Martin , Mark G. Heike , Barbara Schultz 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Capstone Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-0736868495

Theodore grew up in New York City but he still managed to develop a strong appreciation for nature. When he was still a boy he created a natural history museum in his house, much to his mother’s dismay. It was often hard for Theodore to enjoy life to the fullest because he suffered from asthma. In the summer of 1869 the Roosevelt family set off for a European vacation. Theodore’s father hoped that the sea air would help with his son’s illness. All the Atlantic crossing did for Theodore was to make him seasick. Later though, his time in the Alps did indeed make him feel better and he decided that he would do everything he could to make his body stronger. Working to be physically fit would be a lifelong endeavor for him from then on.

When he grew up and became a young man Theodore decided that he would, like his father, serve the people. He believed it was “the duty of the rich to look after the poor” and he wanted “to make laws that are fair to all citizens.” He went into politics for a while until his young wife died. Feeling much aggrieved, he headed out west for a while. When he was ready he came back to the city and once again went into politics. He was determined to route out graft and corruption and he did not care who he upset.

Then in 1898 the Spanish-American War began and Theodore took a leave of absence from his political job to become a soldier. His unit was known as the Rough Riders and they performed with great courage. Theodore came home a hero and not long after he became the governor of New York. In 1900 he was given the job of being William McKinley’s vice president. No one, least of Theodore, expected that he would become the president but this is exactly what happened when the President McKinley died after being shot by an assassin.

Theodore was unlike any president who had ever been in the White House. He passed a large number of laws which, among other things, protected workers, the environment, and the public at large. He took on big business and he did not care whom he upset. He supported the building of the Panama Canal and even traveled to Panama to see how the construction was going. He was shot by an assassin but he still insisted on giving his scheduled speech. He was indeed a very unique man.

This excellent “Graphic Library” title not only tells the story of one of America’s most hardworking and charismatic presidents, but it also captures the vibrant personality of Theodore Roosevelt, showing young readers that he was a truly one-of-a-kind man. Readers who prefer illustration-rich books will be particularly taken with the graphic novel type format used in this title.