A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Marlon Bundo's Day in the Life of the Vice President is a patriotic picture book featuring real-life Pence family pet Marlon Bundo. Written by Vice President Mike Pence's daughter, Charlotte Pence (Marlon Bundo's "mom"), and illustrated by the vice president's wife, Karen Pence, it imagine's a bunny's-eye view of the vice president's workday, including riding in his limo, attending meetings, visiting the Capitol, talking to the president on the phone, and reading the Bible before bed. A three-page Resources section at the back of the book explains more about each stop in a kid-friendly way, with details such as, "The vice president works every day in the West Wing, where he has his own office down the hall from the president."
What's the story?
In MARLON BUNDO'S DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT, readers get a bunny's-eye view of the vice president's job from his real-life family pet. The story imagines Marlon accompanying Vice President Mike Pence, whom Marlon calls Grampa, to work, leaving from his home at the Naval Observatory Base and traveling in his big black limo and going from place to place -- Pence has offices in both the West Wing of the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and also visits the Oval Office, the Capitol, and the big telescope at the Observatory. At the end of the day, the vice president shares a spiritual moment with Marlon: "At last Grampa gets out his Bible, / And quietly bows his head. / I place my paw on his hand / For one little prayer before bed."
Is it any good?
This nicely illustrated day-in-the life story gives young readers a taste of the workday of an important elected official in Washington, D.C. Narrated in rhyming verse by author Charlotte Pence's real-life pet bunny, Marlon Bundo's Day in the Life of the Vice President focuses on Marlon and the big buildings and rooms he enters. Artist Karen Pence, the vice president's wife, zeros in on the realistically drawn rabbit's view, so when the vice president is meeting with people, we see him at rug level and only see the people's feet and their legs below the knee. Or we'll see Marlon on the patio of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building down at floor level while the Washington Monument looms in the distance. All the architecture and vast interiors are well-rendered in watercolors, but not seeing Marlon interact with people or showing people's faces diminishes the reader's experience of him as a real character with a personality. We never see the vice president's face or full body. The most we see of him is his hands and part of his torso as he sits at a desk and reads the Bible with Marlon on the last page of the story.
More of Marlon's personality comes through in the lively text by Charlotte Pence, the vice president's grown daughter, but the rhymes are often only approximate -- for example, "can" is rhymed with "planned," "seat" with "streets," "flags" with "wag," "left" with "steps," "works" with "first," "doors" with "tours" -- and the meter is inconsistent, so a line with six beats rhymes with one that has eight, making the book a less-than-smooth read-aloud.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different duties the vice president has in Marlon Bundo's Day in the Life of the Vice President. Does it look like a fun job? What are the serious parts and what are the fun parts of his day?
What's the most interesting thing you learned about the vice president that you didn't know before?
What pet would you take with you to work if you could?
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