Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Poor Abraham Lincoln! His life was hardly fun at all. A country torn in two by war, citizens who didn’t like him as president, a homely appearance—what could there possibly be to laugh about? And yet he did laugh. Lincoln wasn’t just one of our greatest presidents. He was a comic storyteller and a person who could lighten a grim situation with a clever quip. This unusual biography of Lincoln highlights his life and presidency, focusing on what made his sense of humor so distinctive—and so necessary to ...
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Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country)

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Overview

Poor Abraham Lincoln! His life was hardly fun at all. A country torn in two by war, citizens who didn’t like him as president, a homely appearance—what could there possibly be to laugh about? And yet he did laugh. Lincoln wasn’t just one of our greatest presidents. He was a comic storyteller and a person who could lighten a grim situation with a clever quip. This unusual biography of Lincoln highlights his life and presidency, focusing on what made his sense of humor so distinctive—and so necessary to surviving his tough life and times.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Not many biographies of the 16th U.S. president begin "Poor Abraham Lincoln." This one does and goes on to list the reasons why the man's life was "hardly fun," but then it gets right to the titular theme: "But Lincoln had his own way of dealing with life. Not many people remember it today. It was all about laughing." (In a lovely acrylic painting of the famous Lincoln log cabin, an escaping plume of "HaHaHaHas" mirrors the chimney smoke.) It wasn't just jokes: "Words mattered," and Lincoln's witticisms are quoted liberally throughout: "Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." Innerst's gorgeous, textured paintings, many of them caricatures, are varied and inventive: When Lincoln's great height is described in the text, his head and feet are cropped off the page. It's a quirkily specific biography, but, as with Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora's wonderful George Washington's Teeth, illustrated by Brock Cole (2003), it reveals the human side of an American icon in an unusual, lively and thought-provoking way. (authors' note, sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)
Publishers Weekly
Krull and her husband, Brewer, begin this unique portrait of Lincoln by cataloguing the reasons he had to be depressed (“His childhood was harsh. He looked homely and he knew it”). Subsequent pages proceed to tell Lincoln's story through the lens of his antidote for these disappointments: humor. Whether finding it in joke books or by making fun of his ungainly frame and snobby in-laws (“ 'One d is enough for God, but the Todds need two,' he wrote”), this chronological biography shows how the president used his sophisticated wit and penchant for wordplay to salve hardships and soothe foes. The hazy edges, muted hues, and earth tones of Innerst's (M Is for Music) stylized acrylics underline the image of Lincoln as backwoodsman-turned-politician. Exaggerated faces and cartoon touches keep the tone light, even as the authors touch on serious subjects. The final spread depicts Lincoln seated in his D.C. memorial chuckling as he reads a humor book he enjoyed as a boy. Readers will smile, too, at this lighthearted look at Lincoln and the many droll quotations attributed to him. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Children will be drawn in by the straightforward prose, and librarians will enjoy sharing the book aloud. Innerst’s colorful and unconventional acrylic illustrations cover the entire page and are the perfect complement to both the text and the subject matter, making this a standout biography. Pair it with Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora’s George Washington’s Teeth (Farrar, 2003) for a unique look at two of our most famous leaders."—School Library Journal, starred review

"Readers will smile, too, at this lighthearted look at Lincoln and the many droll quotations attributed to him."—Publishers Weekly, starred review 

"Laughter is not only good medicine. It can also be a political tool, human motivator, and saving grace, as the authors show in this upbeat overview of Lincoln's life."—Booklist

"Innerst’s gorgeous, textured paintings, many of them caricatures, are varied and inventive: When Lincoln’s great height is described in the text, his head and feet are cropped off the page. It’s a quirkily specific biography, but, as with Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora’s wonderful George Washington’s Teeth, illustrated by Brock Cole (2003), it reveals the human side of an American icon in an unusual, lively and thought-provoking way."—Kirkus

School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—The legends that endure about Lincoln are many: his log-cabin childhood, his honesty, his eloquence. What is less-often discussed is how he used humor to diffuse tense political situations, disarm critics, and undo the stresses of running the country. His love of words in general, and jokes and humor more specifically, helped him throughout his life when things were difficult, uncomfortable, and downright dire, as they often were during the Civil War. Krull is an expert at teasing out the fun, quirky sides of her subjects and sharing them in a way that is both genuine and engaging. This take on Lincoln is no exception. He is portrayed as an accessible, endearing, and sympathetic figure, not just another president. Children will be drawn in by the straightforward prose, and librarians will enjoy sharing the book aloud. Innerst's colorful and unconventional acrylic illustrations cover the entire page and are the perfect complement to both the text and the subject matter, making this a standout biography. Pair it with Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora's George Washington's Teeth (Farrar, 2003) for a unique look at two of our most famous leaders.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547487922
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 860L (what's this?)
  • File size: 20 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer are a husband-and-wife writing team known for bringing, friendly, humorous, and well-researched nonfiction to young readers. They live in San Diego, California. You can visit their websites at www.kathleenkrull.com and www.paulbrewer.com.

Stacy Innerst, an award-winning editorial artist and the illustrator of several picture books, has long had an interest in Lincoln and the Civil War. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can visit his website at www.stacyinnerst.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    WWERAW

    I hate abelincon

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    Posted February 19, 2012

    Sucks

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