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President Squid by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Sara Varon

President Squid pairs one of my favorite graphic novels author/illustrators, Sara Varon, with picture book authorAaron Reynolds for a high-energy, undersea look into the mind of a squid who thinks he should be president. Varon's illustrations are perfectly paired with this kooky character. She captures Squid's (slightly demented) exuberance while also peppering the scenario behind Squid with curious sea creatures taking in the spectacle. Be sure to read my reviews of Varon's graphic novels here. Her work is comfortably curious and her stories always have underlying themes of friendship, compassion and creativity. Also, her books are hugely popular in my library!

Less of an actual presidential campaign and more of a rationale, Squid has five solid reasons for why HE should be president. These include wearing a tie, having the biggest house in the ocean (the sunken remains of the Titanic) and being famous - he has a book named after him, after all.

He also is famous, does all the talking and is the BIG BOSS. While most picture books take two years from start (being sold to a publisher) to finish, I feel like Aaron Reynolds must have modeled Squid, even marginally, after Donald Trump, who did not announce his bid for presidency until June of 2015. Happily, Squid, megalomaniac that he is, is much more likable than Trump.

While campaigning and insisting that he be hailed, Squid encounters a sardine who is not hailing him. Realizing that the sardine is trapped in a clam (who has never heard of Squid because, well, clams don't have ears) Squid exerts extreme effort and frees the sardine. And, while the sardine points out that helping people is VERY presidential and he finally receives the adulation of his underwater public, Squid ultimately makes an executive decision. Being president is "exhausting." Instead, he wants to be king! As Squid says, "All of the power! None of the work!"

Source: Review Copy


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