for Looking at Lincoln
by Maira Kalman
A whimsical picture-book look at the life of Abraham Lincoln is fresh and surprising, offering up facts about the most famous president in an offbeat story in which the narrator, a girl who is reading about Lincoln at the library, also conjectures about some of the things that aren’t known. “On the day he was elected, I bet Mary made his favorite vanilla cake.” There’s a loose chronological order to the somewhat stream-of-consciousness narrative, as in, “One day he was kicked in the head by a mule. He slept for two days. Then he woke up and grew up and decided to be a lawyer. (He did like to argue.)” Short paragraphs comprise the notes at the end, which expand on details mentioned in the text (e.g., “Mary Todd first baked a vanilla-almond cake for Abraham Lincoln when they were courting”). A bibliography of sources is also provided. Maira Kalman’s artwork is as colorful as her narrative in this love letter of sorts to Abraham Lincoln that remains grounded in the voice of a curious child. (Ages 7–10)
CCBC Choices 2013. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013. Used with permission.
Abraham Lincoln is one of the first giants of history children are introduced to, and now Maira Kalman brings him to life with her trademark style and enthusiasm. Lincoln's legacy is everywhere - there he is on your penny and five-dollar bill. And we are still the United States because Lincoln helped hold them together.
But who was he, really? The little girl in this book wants to find out. Among the many other things, she discovers our sixteenth president was a man who believed in freedom for all, had a dog named Fido, loved Mozart, apples, and his wife's vanilla cake, and kept his notes in his hat. From his boyhood in a log cabin to his famous presidency and untimely death, Kalman shares Lincoln's remarkable life with young readers in a fresh and exciting way.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.