Parents' Guide to


By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Powerful bio of Abraham Lincoln uses his own words.

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This biography of Abraham Lincoln is narrated in the first person as if by Lincoln himself, giving it an immediacy that makes the man and his story come alive for young readers. Author Frank Keating also adds authenticity by weaving in actual quotes. The text is strongest when dealing with Lincoln's childhood and humble roots, and becomes slightly less easy to follow when making more abstract arguments against slavery and for the preservation of the Union. Kids who are fuzzy on the Civil War may need additional information.

Mike Wimmer's rich oil paintings look like museum-quality period art, and play liberally with light -- from a lone cabin window or a lantern. Young Abe looks relatably human curled up reading a book by the warm flicker of the hearth, or padding barefoot down a path as sunlight filters through golden autumn leaves. Later pictures are more formal, with Lincoln as a statesman or in depicting a battle scene. A moving closing picture shows a medley of faces, soldiers in both blue uniforms and gray, with Harriet Tubman at the center, suggesting the uneasy divisions that continue to haunt the United States.

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