The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln by Mike Reiss
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I picked this book up at the library because the illustrator David Catrow was a speaker at the Youth Services Author Breakfast at ILA 2010. Someone in the audience mentioned that Scholastic refuses to sell this book based on some readers' complaints. It was a long morning and I was sort of spacing out and didn't catch what exactly about the book made it so undesirable to Scholastic...which is why I read it yesterday.
The story is straight-forward enough; a boy tells about how people have thought that he looks like Abraham Lincoln ever since he was born, and how he's given stove pipe hats and Lincoln Logs as presents, etc. He realizes that he's happy to be the way he is after he attends a camp that specializes in kids who look like things/people.
As I read the story, I kept watch for something offensive and didn't see it. Yeah, the pictures aren't cute at all (or, rather, what I consider cute) and the child, quite honestly, is ugly!!
Then I arrive at the final page, where he states, "Now I just have to figure out how to help my baby brother, Dickie." ...Dickie is portrayed as Richard Nixon--"Tricky Dick"--with a very phallic-looking nose. BINGO! Of course, a child wouldn't recognize this, but adults surely will--and have!
I'm not for pulling this book from the shelves or banning it or whatever, and I think Scholastic is being a bit dramatic about it. When it comes down to it, the story isn't anything special and the pictures are yucky! Just pass this book on by when cruising the picture book section for a good read.
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