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Abe Lincoln the Boy Who Loved


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About the Author

Kay Winters was a classroom teacher and a college instructor before becoming a full-time writer. She is the author of Wolf Watch, named to the Bank Street College's Best Children's Books of the Year list, and also an ABA Kids' Pick of the Lists. Other books include Tiger Trail, Did You See What I Saw?: Poems About School, and the Teeny Tiny Ghost series. She loves visiting schools to speak about her books. Kay lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Earl. Visit her Web site at KayWinters.com.

Nancy Carpenter is the acclaimed illustrator of Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt, Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine, Fannie in the Kitchen, and Loud Emily, among other books. Her works have garnered many honors, including two Christopher Awards and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at NancyCarpenter.website.


Carpenter's (Fannie in the Kitchen) expressive oil paintings lend an appropriately sturdy air to this picture book biography of the 16th president. Winters (Wolf Watch) traces Lincoln's path "from the wilderness to the White House," beginning in the one-room cabin where he first spoke and progressing to his later career as a self-taught lawyer and politician who "aimed his words at wrongs he'd like to right." With an eye for details of particular interest to a young audience (such as the fact that as a boy, Lincoln plowed with a book in his back pocket for reading during frequent breaks), the author highlights the main points of Lincoln's life. Her free-verse narrative takes on a suitably homespun directness ("His ideas stretched./ His questions rose./ His dreams stirred," she writes as young Abe watches people pass by on the Cumberland Trail), a quality echoed in Carpenter's choice of oils on rough-textured canvas, in a style reminiscent of Grandma Moses's work. Frontier life unfolds in warm earth-toned shades, and the artist sets a brisk pace by interspersing smaller vignettes with full-bleed vistas. The pages bustle with spry figures, including Lincoln himself, a wiry lad with a shock of unruly hair, big ears and highwater pants. An author's note fleshes out more of the important events of Lincoln's life. This fine introduction to a president over whom, from boyhood, "letters cast a magic spell" points up a valuable message-that of the importance of words in shaping ideas and lives. Ages 5-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

K-Gr 2-An introduction to Lincoln's childhood that concentrates on his education. Throughout the book, there are references to his thoughts and feelings-"His ideas stretched. His questions rose. His dreams were stirred." The prose is formatted like poetry, the print is small, and the sentences are short. The oil paintings on canvas have a folk-art quality, with young Lincoln shown as lanky and dark haired. Some pictures are humorous, as when the classroom teacher snores on while Abe displays his knowledge of subtraction. A spread depicts the family's hardscrabble move to Little Pigeon Creek, where "no cabin waited" and they lived for a time in a "half-faced camp" that was exposed to the elements on one side. Another spread depicts a wintry graveside scene and describes the grief Lincoln felt when his mother died. The legend of his honesty-walking miles to return change-is summed up. Lincoln's political career is touched on briefly, while his wife, children, and assassination are mentioned only in an author's note. Stephen Krensky's Abe Lincoln and the Muddy Pig (Aladdin, 2002) also concentrates on Lincoln's childhood and is more accessible to beginning readers. Because of the popularity of the subject, libraries already owning that work might also want to consider this title, which is a solid classroom read-aloud.-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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