Review of Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers
Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers
Written and illustrated by Karen B. Winnick
Boyds Mill Press: Honesdale, PA., 1996: 32 pp.
Karen Winnick’s affinity for the smaller moments of history—exactly those that are likely to intrigue and charm children—finds imaginative expression in “Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers.”
Clearly curious about why Abraham Lincoln grew a beard, Winnick researched some of the history and discovered that in 1860, a young girl in Westfield, New York, suggested that he let his “whiskers grow.” The two shared a brief correspondence, and during a stopover in Westfield, Lincoln made sure to greet young Grace Bedell at the train station.
Winnick nicely captures Grace’s enthusiasm, and conviction, that enables her to write to Lincoln in the first place, as well as the disappointment at not receiving a return reply for nearly a week—something that any young child would understand. The drawings strongly evoke a childhood classic, “The Ox Cart Man”, in their simplicity and authentic detail. This would be a different way to introduce elementary school children to the pre-Civil War period, and give them a more intimate look at an iconic president.#