First Dog Fala

Meet the Scottish terrier who won the hearts of a U.S. president and the American people.
Price: $16.95
  • ISBN: 9781561454112
  • Publication date: 09/01/2008
  • Page Count: 32
  • Size: 10-7/8" x 8-3/8"
  • Age Range: 4-8


Meet the Scottish terrier who won the hearts of a U.S. president and the American people.

In 1940, Fala came to live with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House. The little dog played in the grass outside the Oval Office, attended important meetings with the president’s advisors, and even dines with the president. But as America was drawn into the conflict of a world war, life at the White House changed. Fala accompanied the president across the country and around the world, waiting with him for the return of American servicemen and an end to a terrible war.

Author Elizabeth Van Steenwyk offers young readers a glimpse into American history and the life of a U.S. president through the story of a loyal dog. Michael G. Montgomery’s full-color illustrations capture the indomitable spirit of Fala and the nation and president who loved him.


Elizabeth Van Steenwyk


Elizabeth Van Steenwyk is the award-winning author of more than 70 published books for young people. After graduating from Knox College, she went on to spend ten years writing for radio and television with a concentration on children’s programming. She lives in California.

Michael G. Montgomery


Michael G. Montgomery has illustrated numerous children’s books. He attended Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia. He lives in Georgia.


“A delightful, quick read…” ―School Library Journal

“An engaging package.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“A real charmer…” ―Booklist

“This story entertains as well as educates.” ―Library Media Connection

“Does a remarkable job of showing the monumental events which were taking place in Roosevelt’s life and in the world.” ―The Carroll News

“Charmingly illustrated…humorous and endearing…” ―The News Tribune

“Full of fun facts…giving kids a picture of a president that makes him seem more human thanks to his canine friend.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“Sure to appeal to young animal lovers and history buffs alike.” ―Washington Parent

“Certain to appeal to every caucus group…” ―Worcester Telegram & Gazette Online Paper

“The subtle, color illustrations bring to life this true story from Fala’s diminutive point of view, in this wonderful picturebook especially recommended for young dog lovers.” ―Children’s Bookwatch

“Written with a big dose of warmth and a fondness for “the good old days,” Van Steenwyk weaves the delightful tale… and artist Michael G. Montgomery’s illustrations make for the perfect topping for this story…This one is highly recommended for children and adults alike.” ―Picture Book Depot


Teachers’ Choices (Primary) ―International Reading Association

California Collection (Elementary) ―California Readers

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Intermediate) ―Kansas National Education Association

KC3 Reading Program (Nominee) ―Greater Kansas City Association of School Librarians, 2010-2011

KIND Children’s Honorable Mention Book ―Humane Society Youth

More Details

AR Level: 5.1
F&P: GRL R, Gr 4, Genre B
Lexile: AD880L
Themes: FDR, Pets, World War II
BISAC 1: JUV016150 JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / 20th Century
BISAC 2: JUV002070 JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Dogs
BISAC 3: JUV004020 JUVENILE FICTION / Biographical / United States

Books By Elizabeth Van Steenwyk