cover image JFK


Jonah Winter, illus. by AG Ford. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-176807-1

Winter opens this picture-book biography of John F. Kennedy with his 1963 assassination and a striking bit of personal history: just a year old, Winter himself was there that day in Dallas: “I watched his car pass by, watched him waving to the crowds of cheering people, watched him getting smaller and smaller as the car drove on.” Beginning the book with tragedy allows Winter to conclude it with a sense of hope and promise, after whisking readers on a tour of select moments in Kennedy’s life, from sickly daydreamer who “loved words” to war hero, senator, and president. Throughout, Winter emphasizes how Kennedy’s charisma and eloquence served him both in campaigning for the presidency and in diffusing situations like the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ford, who collaborated with Winter on 2008’s Barack, contributes fairly static paintings, several based on iconic photographs (a b&w image of Kennedy debating Nixon on TV; a 1931 photo of the Kennedy family on the beach in Hyannis Port). A rosy and somewhat thin account of Camelot. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)