“See that tall, tall man in the tall black hat? Know who he is? That’s right, he’s the man on the penny—Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States,” who here receives a thoroughly humanizing picture-book treatment. Editor and compiler Cohn teams with one of her contributors to From Sea to Shining Sea (1993) to craft a narrative that borrows freely from the American tall-tale tradition in style but that succeeds beautifully in turning the monument into first a child and then a man. Anecdotes and quotations are sprinkled liberally throughout, allowing Lincoln’s humor and forthrightness to speak directly to the reader. From the first to the last page, the text refers the reader to the illustrations, which complete the humanizing task in fine style. Johnson’s (Old Mother Hubbard, 1998) muted ink-and-watercolor washes frequently allow their subject to break the frame, emphasizing his gangling length and enormous feet and hands. One illustration of Lincoln as a young lawyer features a dramatically foreshortened Abe at his desk, looking out from behind his paper in mid-story, gigantic feet and bristling quills dominating the foreground. A later illustration depicts the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln’s careworn face stares directly at the reader over a rumpled tie, a quill in one huge hand. Less a formal biography than a biographical story, this offering depends upon previous exposure to Lincoln’s career—the term “Confederate” is introduced toward the end with no previous contextualizing, for instance—but as a literary overlay to that history, it succeeds magnificently. A timeline is appended, but there are neither source notes nor suggestions for further reading. (Picture book/biography. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-590-93566-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2001

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Donavan's friends collect buttons and marbles, but he collects words. ``NUTRITION,'' ``BALLYHOO,'' ``ABRACADABRA''—these and other words are safely stored on slips of paper in a jar. As it fills, Donavan sees a storage problem developing and, after soliciting advice from his teacher and family, solves it himself: Visiting his grandma at a senior citizens' apartment house, he settles a tenants' argument by pulling the word ``COMPROMISE'' from his jar and, feeling ``as if the sun had come out inside him,'' discovers the satisfaction of giving his words away. Appealingly detailed b&w illustrations depict Donavan and his grandma as African-Americans. This Baltimore librarian's first book is sure to whet readers' appetites for words, and may even start them on their own savory collections. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-020190-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.


From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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