Monday, March 2, 2009

Our Abe Lincoln

Written by Jim Aylesworth
Illustrated by Barbara McClintock
Most enjoyed by Preschoolers through 1st Graders

I love this book. This is a perfect picture book biography of Abraham Lincoln to share with preschoolers, Kindergartners and 1st graders. As the book begins, we see children getting ready to present a play called ‘Our Abe Lincoln’. Each two-page spread shows another act in the play, or episode in Lincoln’s life. Some of the episodes are familiar, such as his log cabin birth and his election to the presidency. But some may be new - his family’s early three-sided home in Indiana or Lincoln’s visit to a customer he had overcharged. The story can be sung to the tune of ‘The Old Grey Mare’ which is what makes it a hit with young listeners. Barbara McClintock’s illustrations of the costumed kids portraying the historical characters are charming. Some of the pictures are so detailed one could make an ‘I Spy’ game and have readers pouring over the book for hours.

The aspect I liked best about ‘Our Abe Lincoln’ is the way Lincoln’s death is handled. There is no mention of the assassination, which can be a tough topic to talk about with very young children. Instead, the words and accompanying illustration tell of Lincoln’s death in such a way that help kids realize how tragic it was without dwelling on specifics.

Highly recommended, ‘Our Abe Lincoln’ is a title perfect for the littlest Lincoln bicentennial birthday celebrators!

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