Kerley, B. (2010). What to Do About Alice? Weston Woods Studios.
The life of Alice Roosevelt, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt is chronicled including her outrageous acts and adventures that drove her father crazy.
The story is light and quick to read, but it truly captures the exasperation of a man who has accomplished so much in his life that is unable to find peace or control in his own home when he is meant to control so much politically. The reader simultaneously roots for Alice to be herself while shaking their head at her antics. This is no more true than when Theodore cautions his daughter to “beware of publicity” and to not speak to reporters. When the page is turned, the reader is thrown into a frenzy of newspapers with headlines about Alice. The text simply reads, “Oh, Alice” as if summing up our thoughts as well as Theodore’s. The use of newspapers throughout the story makes the story real and shows how much she lived in the spotlight as the daughter of the president.
The illustrations are lively and capture Alice’s spirit and desire to do everything and go everywhere, never sitting still for a moment. There are lines of movement throughout the story, propelling it and the illustrated characters forward. The illustration that truly sums up the entire story is the last one where Theodore looks out at his daughter trotting around the world from Mount Rushmore as if, even now, he is wondering what he could do to reign her in.
From Kirkus: “Theodore Roosevelt’s irrepressible oldest child receives an appropriately vivacious appreciation in this superb picture book…. Kerley’s precise text presents readers with a devilishly smart, strong-willed girl who was determined to live life on her own terms—and largely succeeded.”
From School Library Journal: “Kerley’s text gallops along with a vitality to match her subject’s antics, as the girl greets White House visitors accompanied by her pet snake, refuses to let leg braces cramp her style, dives fully clothed into a ship’s swimming pool, and also earns her place in history as one of her father’s trusted advisers. Fotheringham’s digitally rendered, retro-style illustrations are a superb match for the text.”
Pair with other stories about family members of presidents such as The House That Jane Built: A Story of Jane Addams by Tanya Lee Stone and use to discuss what it must be like to be related to someone so important.
Pair with other books about Theodore Roosevelt to study his life such as The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks by Barb Rosenstock, Theodore Roosevelt for Kids by Kerrie Logan Hollihan, Theodore Roosevelt: An American Original by Janet Benge, or Teedie: The Story of Young Teddy Roosevelt by Don Brown.
Have students do a report on Theodore Roosevelt’s life.