Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A little late on Lincoln...

My reviews of these two books would probably have been much better suited last month, goes on. We should celebrate the life of one of our greatest Presidents all year round, so I don't think March is such a bad month to talk about these titles at all!

My Brother Abe: Sally Lincoln's Story is written by Harry Mazer, author extraordinaire. In it, we get a rare look at what growing up with Abraham Lincoln as a younger brother may have been like, through the eyes of his sister, Sally.

From the perspective of a typical young girl during that period in history, the reader is able to see what losing a home is truly like, having to pick up and move with one's family to a new territory in Indiana, and then losing one's mother on top of that. And then, the children's father decides to set out to bring home a new wife and a mother for the children, leaving Sally and her brother's to fend for themselves until he returns.

A very accurate historical portrayal, My Brother Abe is a nice dose of social studies in a fiction book. My one complaint is that I didn't get a whole lot of Abe Lincoln in the story, rather it was a plot about a young girl growing up on the frontier in Indiana. I guess I just thought I would be getting more of what it would be like having Abraham Lincoln as a brother, when really he was just a little brother...nothing more in this one.

Overall, enjoyable and great to accompany projects surrounding the Presidents.

My Brother Abe
Harry Mazer
202 pages
Middle Grade fiction
Simon & Schuster
January 2009

Lincoln and His Boys, written by Rosemary Wells and illustrated by P.J. Lynch is a wonderful book about Lincoln's younger two sons, Tad and Will, and their experiences with their father as both a Senator and the President of the United States.

Both Tad and Willie each get their own little chapter, chronicling an adventure they had with their father and then there is a chapter on both children. Willie goes with his dad on a trip to Chicago where Abe Lincoln decides to run for President, then the boys are described as getting used to living in the White House, and finally the story of Tad having to live without his little brother after Willie passes away from an illness. There is an author's note at the end explaining the extensive historical accuracy of the books, with the exception of dialogue.

It's a short little book, with some brilliantly done illustrations, great for read alouds in classrooms. Great for homeschool projects and just plain "fun" reading as well.

Lincoln and His Boys
Rosemary Wells
96 pages
Middle Grade fiction
Candlewick Press
December 2008

To learn more about either of these titles, or to purchase, click on the book covers above to link to Amazon.


shelburns said...

It's never too late for Lincoln. One of my faves; thanks for the reviews. I have quite a few Lincoln book reviews to post, as I'm behind.

Marcia said...

Both books sound great. "Lincoln and His Boys" is especially timely, now that we have children in the White House again.

Marcia Calhoun Forecki
Better Than Magic
from Eloquent Books