4/1/08 School Library Journal
In these updates of the old "New True" series, the graphics take center stage. These books have more color, more eye appeal, more "pop" than older approaches to these often-studied topics. Unfortunately, they have more style than substance. Of the two, Supreme Court is more focused and therefore more effective in providing information. It answers the questions students will have, and includes some entertaining trivia. Presidency takes a more scattered approach. An explanation of the system of checks and balances is greatly simplified. A few examples are listed but no attempt is made to show the full effect that each branch of government has on the others. In discussing the executive branch, the author says, "The departments and agencies of this branch do many things." She then cites the CIA, Peace Corps, and Department of Labor, perhaps to illustrate the great variety of responsibilities within that branch, but does not offer a chart or diagram showing all of the cabinet posts and their purposes. As a result, children may be left confused as to how the presidency is related to the other areas. The back covers promise "surprising, TRUE facts that will shock and amaze you!" While these titles provide visually appealing, basic introductions to the topics, few readers will be shocked or amazed. Muriel L. Dubois's The U.S. Presidency (Capstone, 2003) takes a more straightforward approach to supplying facts.