BooksForKidsBlog

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Looks Familiar! Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman

ONE DAY WHEN WE WERE WALKING THROUGH THE PARK ON THE WAY TO BREAKFAST, I SAW A VERY TALL MAN.

HE REMINDED ME OF SOMEONE, BUT I COULDN'T THINK WHO.

And when they are paying for their pancakes, the girl spots Lincoln's profile on a penny, and suddenly she is reminded that the tall man she saw must have looked like Lincoln!

Now that her attention is on Honest Abe, she sees reminders of him all around. She heads for the local library to see what she can learn about President Lincoln.

And she learns a lot. She finds out about his young days in a log cabin, the time he and his brother and sister stayed alone on the frontier for months while his father went back to Kentucky to bring back a wife and stepmother for them. That stepmother brought a big box of books and the willingness to let little Abe, sometimes called "lazy Abie," sit by the fire and read for a while every day.

She learned that Abe was kicked in the head by a mule, but when he regained consciousness, he suddenly announced, to everyone's amazement, that he was going to be a lawyer.. And, although his path was hard and indirect, a lawyer he became, and a clever and successful one he was.

The girl reads about his pretty, plump wife Mary and his four sons who had a dog named Fido, his fondness for the music of Mozart, and the way his belief in justice led him to the presidency just as the Civil War began and ultimately gave him the chance to sign the Emancipation Proclamation and greet the war's end with hope and compassion.

"WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE... WITH CHARITY FOR ALL...."

Maira Kalman's Looking at Lincoln (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012) is a delightful way to introduce primary students to the life of Abraham Lincoln, one that will perhaps provoke curiosity to explore more detailed biographies of that really tall man who made such a difference in history. Kalman's soft, faux-naif style adds a childlike charm to the basic facts about this famous February personality and important president.

"Appealingly childlike. . . . Kalman's artwork is the main attraction here, with appealing naive illustrations done in gouache," says Kirkus Reviews. And School Library Journal amiably adds "With a breezy conversational style, thick lines, and vivid bulky colors, Kalman provides a unique introduction to our 16th president,"

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