Friday, August 7, 2009

The Lincolns

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary by Candace Fleming

Book 87 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge
Book 19 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 3 of 5 for the Book Awards III Challenge
Awards: NCTE Orbis Pictus Award/Honor Book; Booklist Editors' Choice; Horn Book Fanfare; Flora Stieglitz Straus Award; ALA Notable/Best Books; Kirkus Editors Choice; Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Boston Globe/Horn Book Award/Honors; Junior Library Guild Selection

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I kept my eye on the SLJ Battle of the Books this year and saw that this book was the contender against The Hunger Games in the third round judged by Chris Crutcher. I figured even though it lost (The Hunger Games ultimately won the whole thing) it still had to be pretty good.

Candace Fleming uses a scrapbook approach to tell the story of the lives of both Abraham and Mary Lincoln. On each page, there are copies of newspaper articles, lithographs, wood cuttings, photographs, and handwritten letters. Instead of just reading the history in words, the scrapbook approach helps add life and meaning to the fascinating lives of the Lincolns.

Don't get me wrong. The scrapbook approach is not frivolous. Even though it is 155 pages, it took me multiple days to read. I wanted to fully immerse myself, explore every page and cram as many facts into my head as it would hold. This book is written on an 8th grade level, and I think it is an excellent resource for anyone interested in a serious study of Abraham and Mary, their upbringing, their family, his career, and his Presidency and the Civil War. It is well-researched and documented and includes detailed notes and an index.

I understand that Fleming has a book about Eleanor Roosevelt done in a similar style. I will definitely be looking into that one in the future. This is a fabulous way to read history. I enjoyed it from the first page to the last.

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Source: Library


Melissa said...

This one caught my eye during the battle of the books, too, but I'd put it on a back burner. Thanks for the reminder! (Good review.)

Jeanette said...

I thought this book was really well done.
I too want to read her book about Eleanor Roosevelt. Thanks for reminding me. :-)