Melissa Sweet resisted the temptation to provide a representational interpretation of Williams' poems, instead purposefully taking a modern-art abstract approach. I appreciated this. While we do get to see a picture of a red wheelbarrow, for example, we do not have the illustrator telling us why so much depended on it. The images in Williams' poem are supposed to be evocative without being symbolic, and the verbs and adjectives are often where the poetry happens around these evocative everyday nouns. The collage using old books and ephemera was a good choice, although I have maybe seen a bit too much of this in the past ten years?
As with many of the biographies I have just read, this one is less about myth-making for the great figures, and more about helping us get to know people important in history but who we may not have known much about. I'm glad the picturebook market is at this point. Writers who want a biography project are likely to think "There are too many out there about Abraham Lincoln already." Jen Bryant's work was informative, but leaves me wanting more. Just about right for a picture book, because there are other biographies out there. And the images for this book do a lot of the work of letting us have an art experience while the biography is laid out.
The timeline was also sparely filled in, and offered a nice touch with the synoptic points of reference. I would probably only read this with kids after some of them had dug into Williams' work--otherwise, why?