I love biographies, they are like having history and a budding friendship rolled up into one. Children’s biographies are just as interesting (and far more colorful) than those written for adults. The Remarkable Ronald Reagan: Cowboy and Commander in Chief by Susan Allen is just such a children’s biography.
In The Remarkable Ronald Reagan, we get to learn a little bit about the man behind the legend. We start off by learning a bit about Ronald’s childhood (like how he got the nickname “Dutch”) and some of the lessons his parents taught him and his brother. Growing up, “Dutch” was always trying new things and even though he wasn’t always the best at the things he tried, he worked hard and tried his best. The experiences he had in high school and college helped him in his dream job of a radio sports announcer. From there he moved on to movies and while he didn’t have the eyesight to be allowed to fight overseas, Dutch helped the Army Fair Force with training films.
We get to learn a little bit about his first marriage to Jane Wyman and then his family life with Nancy Davis years later. After a long career as an actor Ronald Reagan began getting more support and encouragement to enter the political sphere. After eight years as governor of California he ran for president. His first attempt failed but he was elected in 1980 and again in 1984. We read about some of the challenging and heartbreaking things that he had to deal with as President.
In my opinion, Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest presidents our country has had. I know not everyone shares this view of him, but the great thing about this book is that you don’t have to. More than anything else, The Remarkable Ronald Reagan is a book about The American Dream. A man who tried new things, worked hard, and after a long and successful life chose to spend the twilight of his years serving the nation he loved.
The Remarkable Ronald Reagan is well written for children and is brightly illustrated. At the end there are several fun sections including a “Highlights from a Life Well-Lived” timeline that contains photos of his life; Ronald Reagan: Pen Pals shows some letters that he exchanged with some of the children who wrote to him when he was President; and Important Things Ronald Reagan Said.
I especially loved this last section. Some of my favorite quotes are:
- “The nine most dangerous words in the English Language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
- “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
- “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”
- Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
And perhaps my favorite quote:
“There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”
The Remarkable Ronald Reagan is a wonderful children’s biography about a wonderful President and man.