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The Children's Bookshelf: The Capitol - September 11, 2022

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THE CAPITOL: A Meet the Nation’s Capitol Book written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward is an interesting reference book wrapped up in a delightful story about three children from diverse families who each meet a family member who works at the Capitol alongside thousands of others! Peter meets his father, the head mason, Nima meets her mother who is a Senator and Gabriel meets his grandmother who is part of the Capitol Guide Service.

In addition to the stories about this gorgeous 1.5 million square foot building and complex there is also a sweet story about a cat that is roaming through the Capitol. Peter and his father try to catch it. Also, in the back material there is a discussion about a Capitol cat legend that dates back to the Civil War! The artist, with great fun, hides the cat on most every page of the book.

The beautiful illustrations of both the Brumidi Corridors with its eye-popping colors and the Rotunda with its awesome dome, paintings and sculptures are full of gorgeous details. The author notes that the dome itself has 108 of the 658 Capitol windows!

THE CAPITOL: A Meet the Nation’s Capitol Book written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward is full of beauty, facts, history, story and “seek and find” challenges throughout. There is also a very useful Glossary on the final page for older child researchers. This book will speak to readers 5-8 years of age and up (Harper/Harper Collins, 2022).

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

  Activity Questions for The Capitol

Younger children: Look through this book again and find the cat on most pages as it tries to get away from Peter and his dad. I counted 21 glimpses of the cat. How many can you find? Be sure to take a careful look at every picture. Parents and brothers and sisters can help if you feel you need a second pair of eyes on this search. When you have found all or most of the pictures of the cat get down on all fours and do a creative movement exercise by being the cat as it walks, runs and hides like this cat did throughout the story. Have fun!

Older readers: Relook at the Capitol Cat legend discussed in the back materials. The Civil War soldiers described the cat they saw as a very large cat that would screech before it pounced! They named this cat Grimalkin. What do you think such a cat would look like? Use your imagination. Then draw a picture of your large cat. You can dress your cat up and give it a good or bad personality. Be sure to allow it to make sounds, facial characteristics and have body language.

What rooms, staircases or corridors were most interesting to you and why? Make a list of them for future reference and a possible future trip.

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.