Saturday, November 07, 2015

Life, Happiness, and the Pursuit of Liberty! Liberty on the Loose in the White House by Mary Therese Grabowski

The Johnson family vacation to Washington D.C. had been planned for over a year. America's brother Sam hoped to see big monuments, while her dad was excited about the airplane museums. America's mom, a librarian, wanted to visit historical places with documents. And the family dog Liberty, famous for exploring, wanted to run around.

America looked at Liberty and said, "Wait till we wake up tomorrow. I'm going to show you the White House, where the president lives! They even have a dog of their own."

But when the Johnsons arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, there's a sign posted on the gate:


And before the family can decide what to do, Liberty takes the situation into her own, er, paws, slips her leash, and dashes right through the door of the White House.

One of the guards speaks quickly into his walkie-talkie.

"Pooch on the loose! I repeat, pooch on the loose in the White House! Close all exits at once!"

"Over here!" yelled Dad, "Liberty is running toward the Oval Office, the office that the president works in!"

But before the guards and the Johnsons can grab Liberty, she squeezes through the partly open door and disappears inside the Oval Office. And just as a guard offers to fetch their dog, the door opens wide to reveal a smiling president, holding Liberty.

"Nice to meet all of you," he laughed. "And who is this?" asked the president, looking down at the tail-wagging pooch.

America speaks up.

"She's Liberty!"

"She certainly is," chuckled the president. "Liberty just gave meaning to the words of the Declaration of Independence--life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Or at least the pursuit of Liberty, in the case of Mary Grabowski's Liberty on the Loose in the White House (Page Publishing, 2015). An unusual way to tour the White House, this lighthearted little holiday vacation story offers young readers a chance to learn a some facts about the White House, while enjoying a family adventure in which their exuberant pooch, perhaps the first dog to sneak into the White House, fittingly leaves the White House Gift Shop sporting a souvenir sweater that reads "First Dog." Information about the White House casually revealed in the narration is appended in "America's Quick Questions." This book is especially recommended for primary students studying the nation's capital and for families preparing for their own visits.

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