Tales from the Campaign Trail II: Otto Runs for President by Rosemary Wells
It's election time at Barkadelphia School, and Miss Kibbler exhorts all the young puppy politicians to qualify to run by turning in their fifty paw prints. The usual go-getters, Tiffany, a member of the "popular poodle" crowd, and Charles, a hefty bulldog jock, already have some solid financial backers lined up to bankroll their campaign.
"You're the most popular girl in fifth grade," said Tiffany's mother and father. "We'll help you win the election. No problem!"
"We're on your team!" said Charles' mom and dad. "We'll make sure it happens."
Tiffany and Charles definitely know how to get a buzz going with their bases. "AN EYEBROW PENCIL IN EVERY PENCIL KIT. VOTE TIFFANY!" and "MORE MIRRORS IN THE GIRLS' ROOM. VOTE TIFFANY!" say Tiffany's pink and purple bumper stickers. "SKATEBOARDS IN THE HALLS. VOTE CHARLES!" and "BARKALOUNGERS INSTEAD OF DESKS. VOTE CHARLES!" counter Charles' stickers. "VOTE CUTE!" "VOTE STRONG!" they shout. Tiffany's parents hire cheerleaders to pep up her supporters. Charles' folks rent a pseudo-Yalie glee club to serenade the Barkadelphia Bulldogs at the big game.
"Wow," said Otto. "I'm going to run for president!" He begins to ask his classmates what they really want to happen at Barkadelphia School. The results are as varied as his fellow citizens are: watermelon in the cafeteria, bigger towels in the gym showers, field trips to the Madison Square Garden Dog Show, and bongos in the orchestra.
While third-party Otto is surveying the undecided, Tiffany and Charles dig deeper into the dirty tricks manual. Their parents provide free burgers and pancakes. Each candidate starts a reactionary rumor mill accusing their opponent of cheating and expropriating public funds. The campaigns have definitely gone negative!
But when the votes are counted, it appears that smear tactics have not nailed the presidency for Tiffany OR Charles. Instead, it's ordinary Otto, the mutt with the mostest, whose paw on the pulse of the public wins over the electorate.
Known for her popular Max and Ruby books, best-selling author Rosemary Wells' Otto Runs For President covers the basics of electioneering for the younger picture book set with plenty of good humor and appealing politico pups as characters. For a somewhat more realistic view of campaigning for classroom votes (and a bit of a primer on the electoral college), see my review of Kelly DiPucchio's Grace for President, posted on June 19, 2008.
Labels: Election Stories (Grades K-3)