Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country)

Kathleen Krull, Author, Paul Brewer, Author, Stacy Innerst, Illustrator , illus. by Stacy Innerst. Harcourt $16 (40p) ISBN 978-0-15-206639-0

Krull and her husband, Brewer, begin this unique portrait of Lincoln by cataloguing the reasons he had to be depressed (“His childhood was harsh. He looked homely and he knew it”). Subsequent pages proceed to tell Lincoln's story through the lens of his antidote for these disappointments: humor. Whether finding it in joke books or by making fun of his ungainly frame and snobby in-laws (“ 'One d is enough for God, but the Todds need two,' he wrote”), this chronological biography shows how the president used his sophisticated wit and penchant for wordplay to salve hardships and soothe foes. The hazy edges, muted hues, and earth tones of Innerst's (M Is for Music ) stylized acrylics underline the image of Lincoln as backwoodsman-turned-politician. Exaggerated faces and cartoon touches keep the tone light, even as the authors touch on serious subjects. The final spread depicts Lincoln seated in his D.C. memorial chuckling as he reads a humor book he enjoyed as a boy. Readers will smile, too, at this lighthearted look at Lincoln and the many droll quotations attributed to him. Ages 5–8. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/22/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Open Ebook - 40 pages - 978-0-547-48792-2
Ebook - 40 pages - 978-0-547-77019-2
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-0-544-66828-7
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