Saturday, February 2, 2013

[BOOK REVIEW] Mr. Lincoln's Way by Patricia Polacco

Title:  Mr. Lincoln's Way

Author: Patricia Polacco

Genre: Racism / School / Bullying

Year Published:  2001

Year Read:  2010

Publisher: Philomel

Source:  Library

Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Themes of Racism and Bullying)

I have recently stumbled on Patricia Polacco’s works when I saw an episode on “Reading Rainbow” entitled “Appelemando’s Dreams.”  Well, “Mr. Lincoln’s Way” is the second book that I have read from Patricia Polacco!

Never have I read a children’s book that discusses prejudice in such a realistic and heartwarming manner as how Patricia Polacco portrayed it!  Patricia Polacco had done a great job at both illustrating and writing this story and what I loved the most about this book was the character of Mr. Lincoln himself as he was respected by every student in the school not only because he was cool to be with, but because he has a heart of gold and is willing to help anyone in their time of need no matter how different they are.  I also love the way that Mr. Lincoln’s method of helping out Eugene with his prejudice problems as he shows Eugene the power of respecting other people’s ethnicity through what he loves most…birds!  I also thought that the back story about Eugene’s father having racial intolerance towards everyone different from him was extremely powerful as many children can relate to Eugene’s situation as some children might have parents who are racially insensitive and it could affect them in many ways unimaginable.  Patricia Polacco’s illustrations are just simply beautiful and realistic as the characters are drawn with a sketchy look.  The image that really stood out to me was the image of Mr. Lincoln himself as he always has a friendly expression on his face and wears glasses and has a black mustache that makes him look extremely distinguished.

The only problem I had with this book is that the book never really show if Eugene’s father ever repented for his insensitivity to other races.  I felt like Eugene’s father’s racial intolerance for other races was the core problem for Eugene and I thought that the book should have addressed whether or not Eugene’s father ever realized his son’s issues. 

“Mr. Lincoln’s Way” is definitely a magnificent book about how to deal with prejudice in a positive manner and parents who want to teach their children about the terrible effects that prejudice has on people, this is definitely the right book for them.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book unless the theme might be too strong for smaller children to handle.

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