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LINCOLN AND DOUGLASS by Nikki Giovanni

LINCOLN AND DOUGLASS

An American Friendship

By Nikki Giovanni (Author) , Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8264-7
Publisher: Henry Holt

A dramatic double-page spread of the Emancipation Proclamation fast-forwards to a March evening in 1865 at the White House, where President and Mrs. Lincoln are hosting an inaugural ball and to which Frederick Douglass is an invited guest. Giovanni then goes back in time to Douglass’s and Lincoln’s childhoods, comparing and contrasting. It’s then back to the ball via Harpers Ferry and the Civil War. The text, already disjointed, even devotes two pages to John Brown and Mary Ellen Pleasant (who helped raise money for Brown), further fracturing the narrative. Collier’s large paintings are dramatic, particularly one of soldiers in grey fighting soldiers in blue and another of a slave looking out from the divided pieces of an American flag. Unfortunately, both Lincoln and Douglass are depicted with oddly shaped faces and strange hairdos, which often resemble toupées. The stiff dialogue is unsourced by any notes. It’s the season for Lincolnalia, but this team, who collaborated successfully on Rosa (2005), fail to present a focused work that will be meaningful to children. (timeline) (Picture book. 4-7)