Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country)

Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country)

3.0 2
by Kathleen Krull, Stacy Innerst, Paul Brewer
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

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.

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.” 
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 Reviews
 

Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
Anyone who has read about Abraham Lincoln knows that his life was far from easy. However, this well-researched book focuses on Lincoln’s sense of humor and his many efforts to get people to laugh and find humor in the darkest of times, knowing that this would provide them solace. This text shares some of Lincoln’s best comments within the context of his work as a lawyer, his adventures in wooing Mary Todd, and his time as president, saying that Lincoln had to find the humor in life or it would be too hard. Lincoln was known to keep those in his audience laughing with his witty comments and self-deprecating stories, which he often introduced by saying: “That reminds me of a leetle story…” Even Lincoln’s death had a connection to humor: he was shot while watching a comedy at Ford’s Theatre. Innerst’s illustrations, created in acrylics with a combination of picture and text, support Krull and Brewer’s text well. This would be a great book to share with students in a social studies or United States history curriculum as a way to show students the many facets of Abraham Lincoln and give them a better sense of his character. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.; Ages 4 to 8.
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547487922
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/01/2010
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,109,626
Lexile:
860L (what's this?)
File size:
21 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country) 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate abelincon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago