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Unleashed! The Secret Lives of White House Pets

Simon & Schuster, 2011
Adapted from a play by Allyson Currin
Commissioned by the Kennedy Center and the White House Historical Association

Alongside the presidents and their families, some crazy pets have lived in the White House. From John Quincy Adams’s pet alligator all the way to First Puppy Bo Obama, the White House has been home to lots of four-legged friends. Now readers can get an inside look at the animals that have accompanied our nation’s leaders.

Unleashed! is based on a play produced by the Kennedy Center in conjunction with an initiative that aims to educate American youth about past presidents.


Chasing George Washington

Simon & Schuster, 2009
Adapted from a play by Karen Zacarias and Deborah Wicks La Puma
Illustrated by Ard hoyt
Foreword by Michelle Obama
Commissioned by the Kennedy Center and the White House Historical Association

Dee, José, and Annie are touring the White House when they accidentally knock an old painting of George Washington off the wall—and the first president escapes! As they race to put him back, the three meet other famous people who lived in the White House.

Chasing George Washington is based on a play produced by the Kennedy Center and the White House Historical Association that toured across the country. This book is the second in a three-book series about the history of the White House and the kids who lived there.

Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of Ursa Major

Simon & Schuster, 2008
Adapted from a play by Tom Isbell
Illustrated by Ard hoyt
Foreword by Laura Bush
Commissioned by the Kennedy Center and the White House Historical Association

Archie Roosevelt is a typical kid—except that his dad is Teddy Roosevelt, the president of the United States, and they live in the White House! When Archie and his siblings get their hands on a treasure map, they are on the hunt. From the cluttered study to the spooky attic, the map takes them on an adventure through the White House and its history, and leads them to a treasure they’ll never forget!

Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of Ursa Major is based on a play produced by the Kennedy Center and the White House Historical Association that toured across the country. This book is the first in a three-book series about the history of the White House and the kids who lived there.

“The story neatly incorporates tidbits from first family history and lore (Dolley Madison’s rescue of George Washington’s portrait just before the British torched the building; the Roosevelt children’s elevator ride with their pony). To this mix Kidd introduces a White House ghost, who goads the narrator, 11-year-old Archie, to find the treasure ahead of his older two siblings, but the author cuts any spookiness with wordplay and hints of slapstick (the Russian ambassador is said to lose his monocle in the caviar). Hoyt’s finely crosshatched line drawings, to some extent exaggerated like political cartoons, convey brainy fun.”

Publishers Weekly

Undercover Kid

Book 1. Tuna Surprise
Illustrated by Andy Sklar
Grosset & Dunlap, 2006

Maggie Murphy, eight years old, loves mysteries. In her neighborhood, she’s the first kid on the scene when there’s a missing bicycle or a runaway puppy. She loves dressing up as a “spy” (always wear black and lurk), and she can usually be found at the scene of the crime, gathering clues and asking questions. Sometimes she actually solves the mystery.

Maggie’s biggest problem is in fact quite small. It’s her six-year-old brother, Arthur, who follows her around like a tiny, crazed process server and is constantly meddling in her cases. Maggie and Arthur live with their mother, a high school science teacher, and their father, the somewhat spacey owner of Papa’s Books, a used book store with a second-floor apartment where they live.

Maggie’s world shifts when her maternal grandfather moves in with the family. Grandpa is an inventor, but something always seems to go wrong with his creations. His masterpiece is a machine to make him young again, but it ends up making him older, and the effect lasts for only an hour. Maggie, spying as usual, witnesses this and decides to try it for herself. Unfortunately, so does Arthur.

Maggie and Arthur sneak back when Grandpa is gone and, with the help of the machine, become grownups. Of course, they still are kids inside, which makes for some startling behavior. When they change back, Maggie realizes she has stumbled onto the perfect spy scheme. She is an undercover kid, able to go places and solve mysteries no other kid can solve.

Undercover Kid is the adventures of Maggie and Arthur as they identify neighborhood crimes, go undercover together, and solve the mysteries, bickering all the while.

Family Under Fire: A Story of the Civil War

llustrated by Gino D’Achille
Chattanooga Regional History Museum, 1995

One summer day in 1862, eleven-year-old Billy Baldwin and his nine-year-old sister Emily, are playing with toy soldiers in their front yard, when they look up and see a real soldier standing over them. The handsome man, a captain in the Confederate Army, is their cousin Charles from Georgia, and from the moment he appears on their doorstep the Baldwins’ lives will never be the same.

Family Under Fire is the fictional story of a family whose lives are turned upside down during one of the most fascinating and important battles of the Civil War—a battle that takes place in their hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Besides Billy and Emily, we meet their mother, a Southerner who isn’t afraid to speak her mind; their father, a doctor and a staunch Union supporter; Lucas Peterson, Billy’s best friend and the son of a freed slave; and an authentic and colorful cast of characters on both sides of the conflict, including General Ulysses S. Grant himself.

Based on diaries and accounts from the period, the Baldwins’ story is a tale of friendship, rivalry, and high drama. Ultimately it is the story of how a family survives and triumphs over trouble through their love for one another and for their town.

“A compelling, evocative story that will bring alive Civil War history for today’s children, engage their minds and hearts both in that most rending and most morally significant time in our nation’s history.”

Robert Coles, author of The Spiritual Life of Children


“An exquisitely told Civil War adventure story…. In our own era of easy violence, this is an important story for children and adults alike.”

Ellen Galinsky, author of The Six Stages of Parenthood

Danny Dorfman’s Dream Band series

Illustrated by Bob Jones
Puffin (Penguin), 1992
A Legend in His Own Mind

Danny Dorfman can’t stand it. The gross Spinoli twins think they can steal the fourth-grade talent contest with their stupid baton-twirling act. Danny has a better idea. His band is going to rocket to the top performing his original song, “Too Bad, Baby.” Too bad, Danny, is more like it, because Danny’s band exists only in his mind. Can Danny find a band in time to make his dream come true? For a boy with a dream and a really cool jacket, nothing is impossible.

“Kidd’s new series introduces a guitar-playing fourth grader who aspires to rock stardom. In fact, in Danny Dorfman’s active imagination, he is a celebrity—with his own band and Arnold Schwarzenegger as his bodyguard....This series is off to a rollicking and rolling start.”

Publishers Weekly

Meet Maximum Clyde

It’s the chance of a lifetime. If Danny and his band can sell the most candy bars in their school, they’ll win four tickets to see Maximum Clyde. As in the Maximum Clyde, the most awesome rock star in the world! Danny has to win those tickets, and he has a plan to do it. He and his band will team up. They’ll sell all day. They’ll sell all night if they have to. They’ll win those tickets or wear out their sneakers trying. Unless those disgusting Spinoli twins beat them to it.

The Case of the Missing Case

Danny cannot believe it! He has been robbed! In his own garage! While his own band practiced playing and boogying! This can mean only one thing: someone in the Danny Dorfman Band is a thief! Everyone knows Danny is the world’s greatest rock star. Now Danny is going to have to be the world’s greatest detective, too. But how can he find the thief when everybody acts so guilty?

Rapunzel, Sort of

Who is the mystery girl in the house with green shutters? Every day after school Danny can hear her playing the piano. Once he even caught a glimpse of her flaming red hair through the open window. Danny wants her to join his band, but he can’t figure out a way to ask her. Then he comes up with a great idea—the Danny Dorfman Band will serenade her! Danny knows it will work. What he doesn’t know is that it will turn him into a hero!