Kirkus Reviews (Feb 2014)
When the first official visit by a British royal to the United States since independence is scheduled in 1939, Eleanor Roosevelt hosts an all-American picnic.
Fancy White House dinners for heads of state usually are too formal to allow for hot dogs on the menu, but for the first lady, the iconic American sausage is a favorite. She chooses the Roosevelt estate at Hyde Park as the perfect venue, planning it to the last detail with picnic staples of baked beans and, of course, hot dogs. Undeterred by the scathing commentary from across the country, Eleanor persists, creating a memorable afternoon that launches a long-lasting relationship between the once-warring nations—especially important during this period of impending war and economic upheaval. Caricature drawings capture the essence of the personalities and behaviors of the four main participants, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, while adding a sense of reality and amusement to the historically little-known episode. Kimmelman’s straightforward storytelling incorporates some basic explanatory facts and deftly brings this bit of Americana to life. An author’s note provides further context along with a statement that quoted correspondence can be found at Hyde Park; it is silent, however, on the authenticity of the Roosevelts’ dialogue.
A captivating introductory piece for budding history buffs. (Picture book. 7-12)