Caldecott #3 (1940) "Abraham Lincoln"

Why are those soldiers' uniforms gray? Why is their flag different? What is slavery? Is slavery bad? Was Abraham Lincoln nice to kids? Was he sad when his mom died? Why are there footprints on the ceiling? Is there slavery today?

Some of the questions that our latest Caldecott-winnning read, 1940's Abraham Lincoln has sparked.

This has been the most popular book so far with both Magdelana and Johannes. Unlike Animals of the Bible (great illustrations, but stiff prose straight from King James) and Mei Li (great illustrations and interesting, but confusing plot), Abraham Lincoln is a simple, richly-detailed introductory biography about an inestimable leader and gentleman of integrity.

Johannes (17 months)  consistently dragged the hardcover, well-worn library copy over to me, plopped it in my lap, and demanded in his squeaky grunt that I read. Now!  It is packed with colourful illustrations; Johannes especially loved pointing out all the details on each page (lots of pigs, horses, various animals, flags, etc.) Magdelana (4+) had a bottomless supply of questions, primarily about slavery, and why people let it happen. 
This has been a wonderful conversation starter. Magdelana and I have been talking a lot about injustice, and about sticking up for people. I do not always have the best answers.

How do you balance the confusing paradox of A) war is bad; don't fight with B) sometimes you have to fight in order to stand up for what's right? 

These are things that adults don't have figured out.

Spoiler alert: the book ends before his ill-fated trip to the theater. Good or bad, it lets his story end on a more upbeat note that leaves out the assassination.

Highly recommend this for both illustrations and text. Informative, thought-provoking and conversation-starting for 4+, visually rich and detailed for younger. And enjoyable reminder of what a good guy Mr. Lincoln was.

He would certainly be a good guy to have around today.

64 pages
Doubleday & Co, Inc.
by Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire

1 comment:

  1. Based on your recommendation, this is definitely going on our purchase list for Koen.

    What a profound thought--"these are things that adults don't have figured out". I admire the way you are inspiring your kids to begin thinking about these things, even at a young age. Its one more way we should "make injustice visible". We introduce some of these harder questions to our kids. What is our responsibility to prevent it--better yet, to act for the advancement of justice? And what are we still struggling with, in trying to understand about how to "do justice" in the most just way possible, when so many apparent "solutions" come with their own collateral injustices attached?

    No doubt our kids will one day figure out some of the things we struggle with.


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