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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln: A Tale of Two Boys from Indiana by Robert L. Bloch.

A fun introduction to American history for young children

Published June 2011 by Big Tent Books
Illustrations by John W. Ewing
32 pages

My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln is a children's book (ages 5-8) that creates a fictional account of the adventures of Abraham Lincoln and his best friend as a child in southern Indiana. The best friend, Sam Harding, is entirely made up (as the book makes clear) but the story is based on known details of Lincoln's childhood (for example, Lincoln called the school of his sparse formal education a "blab" school and this book does too) and includes details that would have been common to almost all children of the frontier.

The illustrations should be very approachable to all children since the illustrator, John Ewing, is a former Disney illustrator and he uses a familiar Disney-esque style with his characters. I thought his interpretation of young Lincoln's face was interesting - I had never considered how Lincoln's distinctive, weathered face would have looked as a young man.

The book touches on young Lincoln's love of books, story-telling and introduces the idea of slavery and why he was against it. Young Sam Harding moves to Ohio after his Indiana family farm failed and the young friends say goodbye. The last few pages talk about Sam hearing about Abe Lincoln in the Lincoln-Douglass debates and very briefly covers the Civil War.

Several pages that have no specific illustrations have an interesting background: the text of the Gettysburg Address. I recommend this for kids that have interest in history. Also, this would be a great addition to any classroom library or school library.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln.

Reviewed on January 4, 2012.

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