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Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team

Review

Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team

Written by Daniel O’Brien with illustrations by Winston Rowntree.

Daniel O’Brien’s YOUR PRESIDENTIAL FANTASY DREAM TEAM is way, way too fun for a history book --- or maybe it’s just one of the few books out there that captures just how cool American history actually is.

O’Brien begins by asking his readers a question: if America were truly in crisis --- such as under siege by an attacking robot army or fighting off a zombie apocalypse --- and you could assemble a team of former US presidents to save the day, which would you pick? Just like in famous superhero collectives like the Justice League or the Avengers, each member of the team needs to play a particular role, and he needs to be great at that role or America is doomed.

O’Brien proceeds to give in-depth descriptions of the 39 presidents readers have to pick from --- excluding our five living presidents, which helps keep the book as nonpartisan as can be --- for the five parts of the well-balanced team: the Brains, the Brawn, the Loose Cannon, the Moral Compass, and the Roosevelt, because let’s be honest, Teddy Roosevelt is guaranteed a spot on your zombie-fighting team.

“YOUR PRESIDENTIAL FANTASY DREAM TEAM is an excellent book for any young reader with even a modicum of interest in history, superheros or action movies/books.”

The fact of the matter is, to become the President of the United States --- the most powerful position in the world --- you need to be a pretty incredible person. Most history books about presidents just provide a series of dates and facts that become monotonous quickly, but YOUR PRESIDENTIAL FANTASY DREAM TEAM proves that there is no such thing as a boring presidency and even our lesser-known presidents had unforgettable personalities. Who knew that James Garfield was picked on as a kid, so he took up weightlifting and used to juggle 50-pound wooden clubs for fun? Or that John Quincy Adams was a fitness fanatic who almost exclusively exercised naked and kept an alligator around the White House as a pet? O’Brien also shares true stories about our most famous presidents that don’t make it into history books, like Washington believing he was invincible to bullets and Lincoln getting his start in politics by literally beating up evil frontiersmen. These kinds of stories fill our country’s history but not our history books and now O’Brien has thankfully corrected that to make US history much more engaging to young readers.

Winston Rowntree’s illustrations in this book are also outstanding, dramatically depicting our presidents like the heroes and villains they were: Teddy Roosevelt carrying a horse on his back instead of riding it and Chester Arthur petting a cat in a plush chair with evil in his eyes. Coupled with O’Bien’s patented intense Cracked.com writing voice, reading YOUR PRESIDENTIAL FANTASY DREAM TEAM feels like watching a superhero movie. Although the book will likely be more enjoyable to boys than girls (not that it’s O’Brien’s fault that every US President we’ve had so far has been male) almost every president’s First Lady is also described in detail and are just as colorful of characters as their husbands. YOUR PRESIDENTIAL FANTASY DREAM TEAM would certainly be a fun read for girls as well, especially when they realize we would have been better off if Woodrow Wilson had just let his wife Edith run the show from Day 1.

YOUR PRESIDENTIAL FANTASY DREAM TEAM is an excellent book for any young reader with even a modicum of interest in history, superheros or action movies/books. YOUR PRESIDENTIAL FANTASY DREAM TEAM will surely instill a love of history and a terrifying fear of Andrew Jackson in all of its readers.

Reviewed by Rob Bentlyewski on June 27, 2016

Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team
Written by Daniel O’Brien with illustrations by Winston Rowntree.