Beginning with the famous meeting between Harriet Beecher Stowe and Abraham Lincoln, Adler carefully states that it was "reported" that Lincoln said the famous words "so this is the lady who made this big war." The author then goes back to explore Harriet's early years with a particular emphasis on the family's move to Ohio. This brought Harriet into direct contact with slavery for the first time, and she was thoroughly appalled. The impact this had on her led directly to her writing of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The plot is well summarized, and the significance of her book aptly described: "People who had perhaps hardly thought about the injustices of slavery now hated it." Adler does include in his author's notes the fact Tom is not a role model, and that some people consider the book racist. This addition to Adler's series of biographies for young readers is successful in discussing difficult issues. The text strikes a good balance between not being condescending yet not overwhelming the young reader. Illustrations convey a strong sense of the time period. In addition to the notes, Adler includes a list of important dates, selected bibliography, suggestions for further reading, and Web sites for the curious reader to pursue further. 2003, Holiday House,
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-This biography offers easily accessible information supported by realistic, evocative oil paintings. The text begins with Stowe's early years and her love for reading. When her father became president of Lane Theological Seminary and the family moved from Connecticut to Cincinnati in 1832, she began to witness the horrors of slavery, which left a deep impression on her. Bootman's illustrations depict a youthful Stowe in a billowing dress and bonnet, absorbed in reading; slaves working the land; the mature writer with President Lincoln; and full spreads of scenes that would have been familiar to Stowe. The narrative will engage readers while imparting facts about the woman and the period in which she lived. However, quotes within the text are not documented.-Gina Powell, Hidenwood Elementary School, Newport News, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adler's latest in his Picture Book Biography series (A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark, Mar. 2003, etc.) documents the events that affected Harriet throughout her life and brought her to fame as an author. Born in 1811, Harriet was always a voracious reader, and discovered her penchant for writing in early adolescence. But the experiences that led her to become "the little lady who made this big war," did not come until her family moved from the free state of Connecticut to Ohio. With Kentucky right across the river, she viewed steamboats of slaves on their way to be sold in the Deep South, the posters advertising rewards for the return of runaways, and the slaves themselves, at work in the fields and mistreated by their owners. But it was not until 1851, at the age of 40, that Harriet began writing the weekly installments for an antislavery newspaper that would become her most famous work. Millions of readers learned of the horrors of slavery through Harriet's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin. She inflamed Americans who had not previously held an opinion on slavery, and many argue that she helped elect Abraham Lincoln. Adler focuses mainly on the events leading up to Uncle Tom. It is the perfect beginning for young readers doing a first project, or for school children who are getting acquainted with this period in American history. Author's notes, a list of important dates, and a list of resources help students find more information. Bootman's (Don't Say Ain't, p. 316, etc.) watercolor paintings fit the mood and time period of her day. His color palette reflects the seriousness of the topic, while at the same time showing readers the details of life in the 1800s. (Nonfiction. 6-10)