With a jewel cutter’s precision of image and a like economy of language, Demi tells the story of the 16th U.S. president.
She succeeds particularly well at conveying the iconic stories associated with Lincoln: birth in the one-room log cabin; the early death of his mother and the arrival of a gifted and loving stepmother; the fierce self-education; the debates against his Senate opponent, Stephen Douglas, which Lincoln lost but which brought him wide attention. Almost every page or double-page spread holds a quote from Lincoln set on a small scroll, reflecting the primary narrative. The Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and his assassination continue the story. Demi includes child-friendly details such as Lincoln’s love of animals and his creation of the Thanksgiving holiday while also conveying the larger sweep of history in his Gettysburg Address and the participation of thousands of African-Americans as soldiers for the Union cause. The figures look almost like porcelain miniatures, each tiny and detailed, using bits of collage and a color scheme with a great deal of red, white, and blue. While there are no footnotes, the backmatter includes a map of the United States in 1861, the full text of the Gettysburg Address, a timeline of Lincoln’s life, and further quotes.
A picture-book portrait that’s beautiful as well as admiring. (Picture book/biography. 5-10)