Patrick and the President

Written by P.J. Lynch (illus.) Ryan Tubridy
Review by Meg Wiviott

In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy visited Ireland, where all eight of his great-grandparents had been born. During the four-day trip, JFK was welcomed as a returning son. He attended to state business as well as to family business, meeting his distant cousins and visiting the family homestead. In the setting of this hometown visit, Tubridy and Lynch insert young Patrick as an example of the residents’ admiration for the President. Patrick, along with his schoolmates, greets JFK by singing “The Boys of Wexford,” a song known to be one of the President’s favorites. Later Patrick gets to serve JFK a plate of jellyrolls, also one of his favorites, and shakes the great man’s hand.

Lynch’s realistic illustrations capture the enthusiasm with scenes of Patrick with his daddy and mam, classmates, and teachers preparing for the visit. Patrick is rosy-cheeked and takes his task of slicing the jellyroll seriously. Although a bit melodramatic, Patrick and the President captures a moment in history that is made all the more poignant by the assassination of JFK just five months after his return from Ireland. Historical notes and photographs are included.