If You Want a Friend in Washington (Hardcover)

Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets

By Erin McGill

Schwartz & Wade, 9780593122693, 44pp.

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Other Editions of This Title:
Library Binding (7/7/2020)

List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A clever, funny, and informative look at the pets--from Calvin Coolidge's wallaby to Teddy Roosevelt's flying squirrels--that have passed through the White House gates. Perfect for fans of I Am George Washington and So You Want to Be President?

President Truman famously said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." And a dog is what many presidents got. From James Garfield to Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon, presidents often found a friend in Fido (in fact, Abe Lincoln's pup was actually named Fido). Others preferred cats, horses, small critters, or even big, ferocious animals like bears and alligators. With a catchy refrain ("If you want a friend in Washington . . . , "), this is a funny, educational book about the animals that have passed through the White House. Whether it's favorite dogs like Barbara Bush's Millie or the Obamas' Bo; Abraham Lincoln's cat, Dixie; Calvin Coolidge's hippo, Billy; or Andrew Jackson's foul-mouthed parrot, Poll, Erin McGill brings to life a menagerie of presidential pets in this entertaining, whimsical, and carefully researched picture book that's perfect for animal lovers and history buffs alike.

About the Author

Erin McGill received a BFA in illustration at Pratt Institute, where she discovered her love of patterns, textiles, and collage. She is the recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats Memorial Fellowship, a Highlights Foundation grant, the SCBWI Portfolio Award, and the SCBWI Award for Humor. She is the author-illustrator of I DO NOT LIKE AL'S HAT, with two picture books forthcoming. This is her first nonfiction project.

Praise For If You Want a Friend in Washington: Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets

“Great, fascinating, lighthearted fun.” —Kirkus, starred review 

“First Families went for cats, horses, birds, livestock of various sorts, or even alligators and other wild animals…. The White House was often as much a menagerie as a residence. A fetching sidelight on U.S. history." —Booklist, starred review 

“[T]his story contains fascinating facts with charming ­illustrations—perfect for conveying historical tidbits to young children” —School Library Journal, starred review