Last week, President Obama was spotted at Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City, where he picked up a few books for Sasha and Malia. The two books he chose (based on recommendations) were “Journey to the River Sea” by Eva Ibbotson and “The Secret of Zoom” by Lynn Dornell. While I haven't read the books (too many words, not enough pictures), a quick look reveals a rather thoughtful selection.
From Amazon's Journey to the River Sea Review:
Sent in 1910 to live with distant relatives who own a rubber plantation along the Amazon River, English orphan Maia is excited. She believes she is in for brightly colored macaws, enormous butterflies, and "curtains of sweetly scented orchids trailing from the trees." Her British classmates warn her of man-eating alligators and wild, murderous Indians. Unfortunately, no one cautions Maia about her nasty, xenophobic cousins, who douse the house in bug spray and forbid her from venturing beyond their coiffed compound.From The Secret of Zoom website:
Christina lives in a stone mansion on the edge of a forest surrounded by barbed wire, an electrified fence, and signs that read TRESPASSERS WILL BE BOILED. Deep within the forest is the laboratory where her mother was blown to bits when Christina was just a baby. Christina’s father, the head scientist at Loompski Labs, knows how dangerous the world can be. So he keeps his daughter safe at home and forbids her to talk to the very interesting orphans down the road.Both books feature a young girl who finds herself in unfamiliar surroundings and who must deal with a restriction on her freedom... which must resonate with the Obama girls as they cope with their new home in the Washington DC fishbowl and deal with living under the constant surveillance of the Secret Service.
The Obamas seem to have done a pretty good job of shielding their children from the intense scrutiny of the press (man-eating alligators?) and other intrusive forces, but I'm sure they are still concerned about their daughters' adjustment to life in the White House. Perhaps the Obamas have decided to turn to the world of children's literature for additional perspective. And even if the books weren't chosen for that reason, it was a fortuitous selection that should make for some interesting reading in the Obama household.
Note: I'll have to read the books to provide any more insight or parallels, but I'm willing to bet that the brightly colored macaw is a stand-in for John Boehner.