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Tad Lincoln wears a Civil War Union officer's uniform on the cover of "The White House Coloring Book"

Artist hopes coloring book illuminates White House history

February 18, 1998
Web posted at: 2:38 p.m. EDT (1438 GMT)

(CNN) -- Lots of people like to paint history to their own liking. But if you really want to give coloring between the lines a spin, pick up the White House Coloring Book. Commissioned by the White House Historical Association, the 36-page book covers the White House throughout history and for all ages.

Artist Mort Kuff recreated presidents, pets and historical events from photographs and paintings culled from the White House collections and presidential libraries. There are also little facts that accompany the line drawings. Did you know that Amy Carter's Siamese cat was named Misty Malarky Ying Yang?

This is a fun way to learn history, no matter how old you are. And that, Kuff says, is the point. "You can and should try this at home." He hopes adults will take the coloring book home to their children and that they can learn about the White House together.

It took Kuff and a researcher about 2 years to choose and get approval for the photos and paintings.

The line drawings took roughly 90 days to complete. Kuff says that he created about 35 percent more drawings than he needed to make sure that he covered a variety of events and moments at the White House. "We wanted it to have a wide appeal."

The book includes portraits of all the presidents

All of the U.S. presidents are included as well as light moments such as John Kennedy Jr. peeking out from under his father's Oval Office desk.

Kuff laughed when he related a book signing he recently attended at a Maryland book store. "One kid asked me what kind of computer I used" to illustrate the coloring book. "I held up my right hand" to show him.

Kuff is known for his paintings of aviation as well as wildlife and waterfowl of the Chesapeake Bay. The coloring book project, though, has been one of his favorites. "I had fun doing this. But I have fun no matter what I choose to do."

The White House Historical Association raises funds through sales of books and other items to update and maintain furnishings at the White House.


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