Taylor Eide had his nose deep in Meghan McCain's new book as he waited for her autograph on Tuesday. But that didn't mean he was ready to voice an opinion. "I haven't finished reading it yet," he said seriously.

Taylor, 12, was with his dad, Peder, and his brother and sister, Allison, 8, and Ethan, 7. They had come from Lakeville to attend CivicFest at the Minneapolis Convention Center. They're home-schooled, so this event was like a ready-made civics lesson, with a tourable White House, Oval Office, and Air Force One and displays about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

When the Eides saw the stacks of McCain's new picture book "My Dad, John McCain" (Aladdin, $16.99) for sale -- and the chance for her autograph -- they bought a copy and got in line. It was a popular corner; the 100 chairs quickly filled, and the line grew long.

McCain, 23, was fashionably late. But once onstage she charmed the crowd with her cute open-palm wave, said a few words, and then sat down and started smiling, autographing and posing for pictures.

By the time the Eides had worked their way to her table, Taylor had finished the book. And he had an opinion.

"I liked it," he said. "It was pretty cool."

LAURIE HERTZEL, Books editor