Title: Grace’s Letter to LincolnGrace's Letter to Lincoln
Author: Peter & Connie Roop
Illustrator: Stacy Schuett
Pages: 69
Reading Level: 7-10
Star Rating: ★★

From the authors of Let’s Play Soldier, George Washington! and Let’s Ride, Henry Ford! comes a story set just before the War Between the States.

The Story.

Grace wants to do something. Something that will count. Something that will help Mr. Lincoln to win the election. But what can she do? Her father supports Mr. Lincoln, but he won’t let her sew flags or march in the parade or do anything. It’s not fair.

But then, one day, as Grace looks at a poster of Mr. Lincoln, she sees something. She sees a shadow creeping up over the lower half of his face. She sees what Mr. Lincoln would look like with whiskers! Grace is sure that more people would vote for Mr. Lincoln if he wore a beard. But does she have the courage to tell him so?

Discussion.

Yes, well. I have a few different comments to make. First, Mr. Lincoln.

Grace and her family are unqualified Lincoln supporters. Throughout the whole story, Grace’s family is campaigning and cheering for Lincoln. While the story did get one fact right – it said that Lincoln wanted to prevent new states from legalizing slavery, not end slavery in the current states – it also misrepresented other issues. Slavery is said to be the only reason why the southern states threatened to secede. Also, Grace hotly declares that Mr. Douglas’ position (each state choosing on the slavery issue) is wrong because it “means there will be more slaves” [pg. 13]

I’m not a huge fan of Senator Douglas. In fact, I’m not a fan at all. And I don’t necessarily disagree with Grace’s judgment that the enslavement of more people is wrong. What I disliked was how simplistically the issue was presented. No explanation is given of the rationale behind states’ rights. The “right” position is served to us nicely cut up and ready for us to swallow.

Relationships. Grace is a headstrong girl who wants to help Mr. Lincoln win the Presidency. Her father doesn’t want her participating in the rallies, because he believes that “a woman’s place is in the home”. So what does she do? She goes crying to her mother who “agree[s] with Papa most of the time, but not all of the time.” She lets Grace in on a little secret – she’s been helping the neighbors sew banners while Papa is at work. She agrees to let Grace help, too, if she can keep the whole arrangement a secret. Mama also says,

I want to be able to vote just like the men. If women could vote, maybe we could keep the country together. The problems America faces today with war coming and slavery spreading, these problems are not just problems for men to solve. They are problems every American needs to help solve, men and women alike. [pg. 21]

Grace sticks her tongues out at her sister.

Conclusion. Not so wonderful.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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