I should preface this by saying that I grew up with Ronald Regan as my governor of California and my parents were not big fans. You see, my father worked as a math professor at a state university and Regan reduced or froze the salaries of the teachers and professors. Everytime, Regan’s name came up, my parents would invariably complain about him.
I joined blog tour for this picture book of Ronald Regan because Jen at TLC Blog Tours explicitly said, “TLC does not require positive reviews, only honest ones. We, of course, hope you enjoy the reading experience, but we want you to feel free to express your honest thoughts on the book and not feel any obligations to anyone but yourself.”
I was convinced and was willing to have an open mind about Ronald Reagan. He seems to be the poster child for the Republicans, lost as they are in this new economy and multicultural voting population.
Ronald Reagan Picture Book
The Remarkable Ronald Reagan: Cowboy and Commander in Chief by Susan Allen, illustrated by Leslie Harrington
I was struck by the likeness captured by illustrator Leslie Harrington of both Ronald Regan and the rest of the people in his life. Reagan comes across as a simple man albeit with a witty sense of humor. I think it was, in fact, his simplistic outlook on life that made him a great communicator and an effective leader. Being extremely telegenic and a talented public speaker also didn’t hurt!
Allen protrays Reagan as a politician motivated by making our country great again, and I actually do believe this, and perhaps it’s his sense of purpose that gave him direction when he faced big decisions.
All in all, I was prepared to dislike this book by proxy of Reagan’s tenure as Govenor, but, in fact, I truly saw a different side of Reagan that current Republicans all seem to reference. As for moving forward, I think those simple times are gone forever and while Reagan is a beacon for Republicans, it’s a golden story best left in the past as the present day is a very different world.
For parent that are liberal or conservative policatically, I think this is a balanced biographical picture book that kids would enjoy!
[picture book, ages 5-8]
Ronald Reagan’s Actress Wives
Ronald Reagan’s first wife was Jane Wyman.
She began her film career in the 1930s, and was a prolific performer for two decades. She received an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Johnny Belinda (1948), and later achieved renewed success in the 1980s as Angela Channing on Falcon Crest. Wikipedia
I had forgotten about that. There aren’t any images of her in the picture book, so I found some old photos. I love these old black and white glamorous Hollywood stills.
image from Doctor Macro
I didn’t realize that Nancy Reagan was also an actress.
image from My Digital Life
image by way of Warner Brothers posted in the L. A. Times
Ronald Reagan was a natural leader, well-remembered not just for his political leadership but also for his warmth, kindness, dignity, and optimism. There’s a lot kids can learn from Reagan, about our country and about being good leaders and good people. The Remarkable Ronald Reagan: Cowboy and Commander in Chief is a fun, colorful look at his life, from his humble beginnings as the son of a shoe salesman, to his years as a Hollywood actor, his service in WWII, his work as California governor, and the culmination of his career in the Oval Office. There’s plenty that even adults can learn as they read along with their kids, including Reagan’s efforts to stand up against racial discrimination, and his powerful faith in God. The Remarkable Ronald Reagan is a treat for the entire family.
More Children’s Books on Ronald Reagan
Who Was Ronald Reagan? by Joyce Milton
I like the popular Who Was? series. They are short, easy chapter book biographies.
Ronald Reagan (DK Biography) by Michael Burgan
Ronald Reagan: 40th President of the United States by Tamara L. Britton
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.