Monday, February 20, 2012

Here's Looking at You Lincoln

It's late in the day by West Coast standards to continue celebrating President's Day holiday, but I can't help it if they keep moving it out of convenience. I'm never certain what day it is. Even so; anytime is a darn good time to take a close look at Maira Kalman's new book, Looking at Lincoln. In it, artist/author Maira Kalman paints a wonderful image of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, peppered with witty commentary.
      Sidenote: Just last month Kalman visited Seattle on a book tour with her good friend Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), which had to be the funniest book reading I have ever attended. Together, they amused us with stories about failed relationships and love; the topic of the book, Why We Broke Upauthored by Handler with art by Kalman. Just before their presentation, I picked up a copy of Maira's newly released book on Lincoln which is based upon a New York Times online column she did three years ago called In Love With A. Lincoln. In the column, she 
brings us along on a journey to learn more about Lincoln's legacy; stopping at a Philadelphia museum and library and then visiting the land of Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois where she meets a retired minister who is one of 150 impersonators traveling the country doing Lincoln presentations in schools and libraries. 
      Today there are reportedly over 16,000 books written about President Lincoln, but I doubt any one of them are as colorful as Maira Kalman's brief account for ages 5 and way older. She does an exceptional job of painting a portrait of a kind, self-made, visionary man with just one year of schooling, who loved apples, vanilla almond cake and books; and strongly hated slavery. A book every world leader should read. 

Below are Kalmans' illustrations and hand-lettering from her original 2009 New York Times column In Love With A. Lincoln.

Watch a short clip of Maira Kalman on the Colbert Report a while back where
she talks about her earlier book on American history, The Pursuit of Happiness.
She tells Stephen that Lincoln would have made an incredible boyfriend.

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