Review of Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?

dicamillo_where are you going baby lincolnWhere Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? 
[Tales from Deckawoo Drive]
by Kate DiCamillo; illus. by Chris Van Dusen
Primary    Candlewick    101 pp.
8/16    978-0-7636-7311-6    $14.99    g

DiCamillo continues the relay of Tales from Deckawoo Drive, as minor characters from previous books (Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, rev. 9/14; Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Racoon, rev. 9/15) grab the baton for their own stories. In this third series entry, the Lincoln sisters, a pair we met in the Mercy Watson books (of which this series is a spinoff), take center stage. Eugenia Lincoln is hard-nosed, tyrannical, and humorless. Lucille Lincoln, known as Baby, is soft-hearted, timid, and oppressed. The story kicks off as Baby accesses just enough gumption to take a train trip by herself. In the course of this journey she makes friends and gains self-confidence, and when she returns home, Eugenia unbends enough to admit that she missed her. It ends with buttered toast, love, and a cameo appearance by Mercy Watson the pig. A generous helping of full-page and spot illustrations adds to the energy and to our understanding of the characters. These stories — with their portrait of timeless small-town America; their use of adult characters as kid stand-ins; their celebration of mild ironies; and their pleasure in language (“You must be firm and resolute, particularly with mice. You must brook them no quarter”) — are a welcome addition to a time-honored tradition of children’s writing.

From the July/August 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sarah Ellis
Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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