Long before the antics of celebrity children like Rumer Willis and the fashion sense of famous kids like Suri Cruise were making headlines, the daughter of the twenty-sixth president of the United States was taking the world by storm and reportedly dancing on the roofs of dinner clubs in her underwear (although she adamantly denied it). Alice Roosevelt was 17 when her father, Theodore Roosevelt, became president in 1901 following the assassination of William McKinley. The world would never be the same.
"What to Do About Alice?" by Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham is a delightful children's book that highlights the life of one of the most popular presidential children the United States has ever known. Although she came of age in a time when women were supposed to be demure, cultured and reserved in their activities and behaviors, Alice Lee Roosevelt certainly didn't follow societies demands. She drove her own car through the streets of Washington, D.C. at breakneck speed, stayed out to all hours of the night and always spoke her mind. Her father, Theodore Roosevelt, is reported to have said,
I can either run the country or I can attend to Alice, but I cannot possibly do both.
The public adored her; her style was copied, people named their baby daughters Alice and she even had a shade of blue named in honor of her blue-grey eyes.
In this book for children, the unconventional personality and behavior of a girl born before her time is celebrated. The author and the illustrator feature bits of Alice's life that other girls of all ages can draw inspiration from. When she had to wear leg braces because of a mild case of polio, Alice continued to run and play. When her father was busy with his political career, she still made sure he paid attention to her by bursting into the room and charming his guests. Even after marrying and setting up a household of her own, she stayed involved with Washington, D.C. politics and did so until her death in 1980 at the age of 96.
Barabara Kerley is also the author of children's books about other important members of society. She is the author of "The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According To Susy)," "Walt Whitman: Words for America," "Those Rebels, John and Tom" and "The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: An Illuminating History of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, Artist and Lecturer."