What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite a bit of coarseness, this latest in the New York Times-bestselling Bad Kitty series is a terrific primer on the election process. Kitty makes plenty of ugly missteps, including defecating on someone's lawn and smearing her opponent in an attack ad that she claims to know nothing about. Kids will get a healthy dose of skepticism along with their civics lesson.
What's the story?
In BAD KITTY FOR PRESIDENT, Kitty is fed up with stray cats coming into her neighborhood, so she decides to do something about it by running for president of the Neighborhood Cat Club. She tries to crown herself president but learns that it takes a lot of work to get elected. Still, she wins the primary (by kissing a baby) and becomes the nominee. Then she has to seek endorsements, hit the campaign trail, and figure out how to use mass media to her advantage. After a lively debate with her opponent, she and her fellow cats head to the polls on Election Day to find out who will lead the neighborhood cats for the next four years.
Is it any good?
The idea of democratically electing a president is easy enough for a young child to understand -- but the actual mechanics of the process are much harder to grasp. Bad Kitty is certainly true to her moniker: She's selfish, devious, rude, and petty. (Insert your own joke about politicians here.) And she's expertly used here to illustrate the best and worst of the American election process.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what motivates people to run for office. Kitty is apathetic until she realizes that it could be to her advantage to hold power. Why do politicians seek office?
How are political ads like ads for products? How are they different? Talk about how candidates use media.
Families also can talk about the intended safeguards in the election process, from PACs and 527 groups to laws about buying gifts and slandering opponents. The narrator is sometimes skeptical, even saying 527 groups seem "fishy." What do you think?
Kitty runs for office because she's unhappy about stray cats coming into her neighborhood. Read the debate moderator's question about the stray-cats issue: What do you think about the problem?