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Unleashed: The Lives of White House Pets    adapted by Ronald Kidd & Ard Hoyt order for
by Ronald Kidd
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2011 (2011)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Young readers seven years of age and up are provided with a thumbnail look at some of the pets which have inhabited the White House over the years in this short novel.

Alastair's father has just been elected as president of the United States and the family has moved into the White House with their dog, Tipp. Unfortunately, some of the president's advisors don't think Tipp, a Chihuahua, projects the right image as the First Family's pet. Will the little fellow have to be replaced? Not if Alastair has anything to say about it.

When the girl and her dog find a time machine of sorts, an old jalopy, hidden behind a painting of George Washington, they are off on a very strange adventure. As they chug along through the past, Alastair and Tipp meet some of the earlier inhabitants of the White House and their pets.

The animals include Tad Lincoln's two pet goats, Thomas Jefferson's mockingbird, an alligator given to John Quincy Adams by the Marquis de Lafayette, and three of the most famous White House canines of all time, Fala (FDR), Laddie Boy (Harding) and Lillie (Bush).

After their fine adventure, the First Daughter and her First Chihuahua almost don't make it back to their own time period because their jalopy breaks down. Fortunately, Alice Roosevelt comes to their rescue, repairs the car and they return home.

An easy book to read, Unleashed is a little weak on plot, but it does offer cursory exposure to past presidents and some of their household animals. If this book piques the reader's curiosity and makes him or her want to look into other material about the White House and its inhabitants, all the better.

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