Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lincoln and his Boys


LINCOLN AND HIS BOYS; Rosemary Wells; illustrated by P. J. Lynch; Sommerville, MA: Candlewick, 2009; 96pp. Juvenile fiction.
Who would not love to see Rosemary Wells win the Newbery? It is early days for that yet, but she ought to get more than serious consideration this year with the recent publication of this lyrical and timely portrait of Abraham Lincoln as seen by his sons Willie and Tad. The boys huck pebbles at their father's office window in Springfield to get him to come home for supper, where he waltzes their mother around the room; Will is so amazed by a visit to the big city with his Pa that his father has to tell him to remember to blink once in awhile. In these short pages, Rosemary Wells has managed to capture , the crushing burdens of the war, the politics of the day, and the respite and delight Lincoln found in his family. Most tender of all is when Willie's voice ceases midway through the book and Tad tells of his father's and mother's grief, and the loss of his own best friend. In Lincoln and his Boys, Rosemary Wells not only recreates the spirit of the most famous First Family of all, but evokes as well the melancholy spirit of the most sorrowful time in American history. Simply beautiful.

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