When Penny Met POTUS
by Rachel Ruiz, Illustrated by Melissa Manwill
Penny’s mother works for POTUS in a big white house. Since Penny has never met this mysterious POTUS, her imagination runs wild, envisioning an exuberant blue furry monster, complete with horns. The monster flies atop Air Force One, fends off fearsome aliens in outer space with the help of his trusty secret service agents and guzzles coffee straight from the pot. When Penny finally meets POTUS, she is surprised to find POTUS is…human!
The payoff laugh comes because we are expecting the line to be “But you’re a-” woman. Penny is of course, far more interested in POTUS’s non-monstery qualities than her gender. Written and published ahead of the 2016 election, this book projects a hope and certainty that a woman can be president. After Hillary Clinton’s loss the joke falls more than a little flat, in fact, the ending stings a bit.
Age Recommendation: It is helpful if the children reading (or listening to) the book are a bit more savvy than Penny. If they know who works in the White House, that POTUS stands for President of the United States, these details mean they are in on the joke from the start. But for kids who don’t know the acronym, have any background knowledge about the White House, the humor may fall a bit flat. I mean, who wouldn’t be disappointed like Penny to find out there’s no furry monster on the job.
That said, my 17 month old adores it. So Melissa Manwill’s fuzzy blue monster illustrations will charm even those who have no idea what is going on in the text.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.