Friday, April 13, 2012

Guy Friday-- Abraham Lincoln

Both of these titles are also reviewed at Young Adults Book Central. Did you realize that Lincoln died on April 15, the same date that the Titanic went down?

Osborne, Mary Pope. Abe Lincoln at Last!
Jake and Annie are on a mission-- Teddy has put a spell on Merlin's penguin penny and needs Jack and Annie to break it by finding objects through history. They head out one morning before school and end up at the White House, where they need to meet with Lincoln. They meet two rowdy boys who say that they will introduce them to the president, but he ends up having to many meetings. Jack and Annie are sucked back into another place and meet a boy on a horse. Sam agrees to introduce them to Lincoln, but is injured at the mill. They take him back to his cabin and try to help him with his chores. When Sam's father comes home with a new stepmother and stepsiblings for Sam, he gives Jack and Annie a quill he uses for his school work. When the two travel back to the White House, Lincoln recognizes them as the children he met long ago, and Jack uses the quill to write an encouraging message to the president.
Strengths: This is a nice introduction to how hard Lincoln's boyhood was, and well as how busy he was as president.
Weaknesses: My children were HUGE Magic Tree House fans about ten years ago, and we read up to about book #25, so I'm not a stranger to these. However, Jack and Annie seem to have become less knowledgeable despite their many adventures. They don't know Tad and Will Lincoln, they don't recognize the young Lincoln, and they don't connect that a quill is the feather they seek. Also-- Merlin's penguin?

Osborne, Mary Pope. Fact Tracker: Abraham Lincoln.
This nonfiction companion to Abe Lincoln at Last! not only covers the events of Lincoln's life, but includes explanations about what life was like at the time he lived. History of the United States during the Civil War is explained. There are plentiful illustrations, but also a fair amount of photographs of Lincoln and the places that he lived. The basic facts about his life (education, early careers, romances) are covered in a conversational tone that is easy to read. An index and bibliography, as well as tips on how to do research, are included.


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