Monday, September 20, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Lincoln Tells A Joke

Lincoln Tells A Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (And the Country). Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer. Illustrated by Stacy Innerst. 2010. April 2010. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages.
Poor Abraham Lincoln.
His life was hardly fun at all.
His childhood was harsh.
He looked homely and he knew it.
Sadness disturbed him off and on.
His family had ups and downs.
When he ran for public office, he often lost.
As our sixteenth president, he was unpopular.
And when his country went to war,
it nearly split in tow.
But Lincoln had his own way of dealing with life.
Not many people remember it today.
It was all about laughing.
I really enjoyed this picture book biography of Abraham Lincoln. It was interesting to read his life story through a single perspective. How Lincoln used laughter as medicine, as food for the soul.

Not that laughter is the only perspective. Krull also emphasizes Lincoln's love for words. How he loved to read and write. How important words were for him. How persuasive words can be. How fundamental they can be in communication. But time and time again, as Krull illustrates with quotes, humor comes into play here as well.

For example Lincoln when speaking of another lawyer: "That man can pack the most words into the least ideas of any man I know".

And "Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

And I loved Lincoln's office sign.
He labeled a teetering pile in his office with a sign: When you can't find it anywhere else, look in this.
Overall, I enjoyed it. I would have loved to know exactly where each quote came from. But Krull does give a minimal bibliography for further reading.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

1 comment:

Zoe @ Playing by the book said...

Any book that raises a smile when reading about a politician (rather than getting you angry or depressed) is a rare thing!