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VOTE FOR ME! by Martin Baltscheit


by Martin Baltscheit ; illustrated by Marc Boutavant

Pub Date: April 28th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5543-5
Publisher: Eerdmans

Anthropomorphic animals hold a presidential vote in this story originally published in France in 2012.

In a land inhabited by big-eyed, anthropomorphic animals, the male lion is always elected president. Every five years he asks, “Who’s voting for me?” and all the animals give him their votes, after which they “have as much cake and strawberry-coconut juice as they [want].” But when a mouse challenges this practice and says there should be more than one candidate, the other animals get on their candidate soapboxes—and some clever political satire follows. After the secret vote is held, each candidate, one per animal group, has received one vote except for the lion, who didn’t vote. (The system represented seems to be quasi-parliamentary—only each group’s representative has a vote—making this a poor primer for U.S. electoral politics.) Chaos ensues as each new president engages in partisan self-interest. Disenchanted, the mouse seeks out the lion to help—which the lion agrees to do by becoming president again. This theme of patriarchy is reinforced by subtle misogynistic messages: The female ostrich is depicted as silly, the female carp as unintelligible, and the lioness as merely a helpmate to the lion. There’s also a not-so-subtle message about initiative: Don’t bother, the story seems to say, since only the lion is wise enough to preside over a diverse population. The colorful, well-rendered illustrations are lively and often amusing in their clever depictions of animals’ expressions and actions.

This advancement of patriarchy is way past its sell-by date.

(Picture book. 5-8)