Cappy Tail’s Capitol Tales

What It Is

Cappy is a talking squirrel who lives in Washington, D.C. and takes readers on a tour of the Capitol building. Through rhyming verse, Cappy leads us through the magnificent building’s highlights, including Emancipation Hall, the Rotunda, the House and Senate chambers and other notable points. He tells readers interesting facts about the building such as the height of the dome, the magic of the “Whisper Chamber,” and the significance of “The Crypt” as a tribute to the “heart” of our democracy.

Why It’s Fun

Rhyming books are always fun to read, and parents may find the rhythm keeps their child’s attention more focused when a story introduces a new concept or information. The rhyme isn’t as smooth and whimsical as the Barnes’ Nat the Nantucket Cat series, but it is still enjoyable. However, the story is more about the building itself rather than what happens inside, which might have been more appealing to kids than architectural facts. There is additional reading at the end, which offers more historical perspective and should not be overlooked. On some pages, Cappy is hidden which makes a fun look-and-find.

Who’s Going To Love It

Children who have a basic knowledge of our government, beyond the President, would most appreciate this book. These lessons are typically taught towards in the mid elementary grades, making this book most appropriate for the 8- to 10-year-old group. My 9-year-old, who’s loved Nat the Nantucket Cat Goes to the Beach since she was three, really enjoyed it. Younger children may need additional explanation as they mainly associate Washington, D.C. with the White House. Children on the older end of the publisher’s recommended age range may think the cartoonish illustrations looks too “babyish.” In all, it’s a good effort and a nice Election Day read.

Reading Time

At least 5 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

6 out of 10

Book Information

By: Written and Illustrated by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes
Published by: VSP Books (2010)
Approximate retail price: $16.95
Publisher’s recommended ages: 6 - 12


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