Kids today are paying attention to this year's presidential election. How can they not, what with the Democratic primaries dominating news cycles and even pop culture? "That's the Ticket! A Parade of Presidential Elections," a new exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, seeks to give future voters a better understanding of how we got to where we are. The exhibit begins in 1856, the first year in which Democrats faced off against Republicans (who founded their party two years earlier in Ripon, Wis.).
Also covered: The major parties' candidates for president and veep, campaign and election highlights, electoral maps, newspaper photos and a colorful collection of artifacts (that includes a Teddy Roosevelt bandana from 1912, a John F. Kennedy car-antenna flag from 1960 and Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan pocketknives from 1980). The exhibit closes Nov. 8 four days after America elects its 44th president. More at 608-264-6555; wisconsinhistory.org/museum.
The Yahara Fishing Club's Kids Fishing Day means free rods and reels to the first 250 kids under the age of 14 who land on the shores of Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center, between 9 am and 1 pm on June 7. Kids who bring their own gear will receive a free tackle box. Free live bait, instruction from club members and hot dogs will be part of the festivities. The goal, says Yahara Fishing Club President Larry Kopf, is to give children and parents an opportunity to discover fishing as a family activity. More than 350 kids are expected to participate, and adults who join them do not need a license that day. June 7-8 is the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Free Fishing Weekend, so no licenses will be required to cast a line in any of the state's 15,000 lakes and 42,000 miles of rivers and streams. On other days, children under 16 do not need a license, but adults who help a boy or girl cast a line or reel in a catch must have one, because they are then considered by the DNR's watchful wardens to be fishing. More at dnr.wi.gov.
Gwango's Lonesome Trail
By Justin Parpan
If you and your kids loved the vintage Route 66 backgrounds in the animated movie Cars, pick up this quirky children's picture book. Gwango is a lonely dinosaur wandering a retro-style desert California populated by "weary truck drivers and gas station attendants," Winnebago campers and drive-in movie theaters. His search for a companion takes him through the remnants of the golden age of the open road, which is represented through modern illustrations by writer Justin Parpan.
The book is published by Red Cygnet Press, which works with top college art departments to develop picture books with talented students. More at redcygnet.com.