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Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick - book review

Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick (Scholastic, 1997)

For ages 6-10.

Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers is the true story of 11-year old Grace Bedell, who wrote to Lincoln during his presidential campaign. She wrote a reasoned persuasive letter, suggesting that if Lincoln wanted to get elected, he should grow a beard, because his face looked too thin without one. Lincoln actually wrote her a personal response. At the end of the story she goes to see the newly-elected Lincoln at a whistle-stop. Sure enough, he has grown a beard.

The writing includes humorous touches in the dialog, along with insight into 19th-century life and times. The bright oil-painting illustrations add to the appeal.

I like the empowering message - a little eleven-year-old got the attention of a national leader and, who knows, maybe even changed history. Although our access to our leaders has changed since the Civil War era, it's never too early to help kids see themselves as possible instigators of change.

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