First Lady, humanitarian, columnist, and later United Nations ambassador, Eleanor Roosevelt was also a hot-dog enthusiast. When, in 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the United States, Mrs. Roosevelt held a picnic in their honor. Hot dogs were, naturally, on the menu. This was the royal couple’s first encounter with the American staple, and the picnic proved the beginning of a long-standing friendship between the two couples and nations.
In Hot Dog!: Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic, Leslie Kimmelman and illustrator Victor Juhasz paint an affectionate portrait of America’s most famous First Lady. Readers see Mrs. Roosevelt advocating on behalf of Americans affected by the Great Depression and worrying about the trouble brewing in Europe; they also glimpse her coveting hot dogs, doing sit-ups, and delightedly planning her picnic. Kimmelman’s lively style and Juhasz’s playful illustrations capture Eleanor Roosevelt’s warmth and her husband’s energy.
Sometimes, the best introduction to a historic figure is a story, a narrative that shows the person’s character. In Hot Dog, Kimmelman and Juhasz illuminate Eleanor Roosevelt’s empathy and approachability, the unassuming friendliness that allowed her to communicate with people of all backgrounds – and share her love of ballpark fare with monarchs.
-Dorothy A. Dahm