Teaching Civics With Chidren’s Literature: Woodrow, The White House Mouse

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Woodrow, The White House Mouse written and illustrated by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes chronicles the presidency of Woodrow G. Washingtail.  The book follows President Washingtail and his family, First Lady Bess, and his children Truman, Franklin, Quentin, Kermit, Dolley, Millie, George and Art as they get to know the White House and the duties of  the President.  Woodrow, The White House Mouse explains  the duties of the president and the intricacies of The White House by using poetry on every page.  The illustrations in this adorable and cleverly written book highlight The State Room, The Oval Office, The East Room, The Red Room, The Green Room, and The Blue Room at Christmas.  The students will enjoy learning about the Departments of the Government and what it takes to pass a bill.  This is the perfect book for helping students understand the jobs and roles of the President and the different Departments of Government.

Here are a few excerpts from the book.

  • “So on a cold winter’s day, with the most solemn respect, two presidents swore to preserve and protect, our nation, our freedoms, out flag see it wave- our land of the free and our home of the brave.” (pg. 3)
  • “The President has a big job, you’ll agree- many places to go, many people to see.  In the great Oval Office, he does all his thinkin’- And Woodrow, they say, is as smart as Abe Lincoln!” (pg. 12)
  • “The President is required to study each “bill”, that Congress delivers from Capitol Hill.  If he signs it, a bill becomes law-it’s approved.  If he gives it a “veto,” it’s rejected, removed.” (pg. 29)

Curriculum Connections:
Woodrow, The White House Mouse
is an easy-read with wonderful illustrations to help students in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade to learn about civics. For kindergartners, this book will help them recognize the American flag and know  that the President is the leader of The United States. (VA SOL K.9)   First graders will recognize the symbols and traditional practices that honor and foster patriotism in the United States by identifying the American flag, and the Washington Monument. (VA SOL 1.1)  Second graders will explain the responsibilities of a good citizen, with emphasis on demonstrating self-discipline and self reliance, and practicing honesty and trustworthiness.  (VA SOL 2.10)  Woodrow, The White House Mouse will help third graders recognize the importance of government in the community, Virginia, and the United States of American by explaining that the basic purposes of government are to make laws, carry out laws, and decide if laws have been broken.  (VA SOL 3.10)  Furthermore, the book will help students explain the importance of the basic principles that form the foundation of a republican for of government by describing the individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and equality under the law.  (VA SOL 3.11)

Additional Resources

  • If you have access to a computer in your classroom, this slide show of concepts is a good way for students in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade to learn the basics about our government, specifically the Constitution, the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch.  You can also click on different categories and different age ranges for more information.
  • If you are looking for another great book to help your students understand more specific information like The Bill of Rights or The First Amendment, or political figures like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton, then you should read The Bill Of Rights written by Norman Pearl.
  • Scholastic offers several links to websites all aimed at helping students understand different parts of government.  Scholastic offers links to every topic from Presidents (past and present), to first ladies, to constitutional rights.  My favorite link is Seven Roles of One President.

Book: Woodrow, The White House Mouse
Authors: Peter Barnes and Cheryl Barnes
Illustrators: Peter Barnes and Cheryl Barnes
Publisher: Vacation Spot Pub.; 2nd edition
Publication Date: November 1998
Pages: 32 Pages
Grade Range: Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade
ISBN: 978-0963768896