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Abe's Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln

Overview

Here is the perfect book for celebrating Lincoln’s 200th birthday—and a unique way to illuminate our 16th president for today’s young readers. Based on an actual incident that occurred when Lincoln was just a boy, it shows that he, like so many children, wished he were taller (and it came true!); that he had a mischievous streak; that he loved words; and—most important—that even as a small child he puzzled deeply over the concept of freedom. Amy June Bates’s superb illustrations capture young Abe’s personality, ...
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Overview

Here is the perfect book for celebrating Lincoln’s 200th birthday—and a unique way to illuminate our 16th president for today’s young readers. Based on an actual incident that occurred when Lincoln was just a boy, it shows that he, like so many children, wished he were taller (and it came true!); that he had a mischievous streak; that he loved words; and—most important—that even as a small child he puzzled deeply over the concept of freedom. Amy June Bates’s superb illustrations capture young Abe’s personality, the warmth of his home life, and the enduring power of his one-time chance meeting with a soldier from the War of 1812.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

President Lincoln was once asked what he remembered about the War of 1812 and answered that what he recalled was having fished all day, catching a small fish and then giving it away to a hungry soldier returning home from the war. From this small anecdote, Bryant (River of Words) paints a picture of a boy who, while interested in playing pranks on his older sister, spends time considering the meaning of freedom and teaching himself to spell; he's a little too good to be likable. Bates (Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight) humanizes Abe somewhat, giving him the occasionally puckish expression and letting him look petulant when dealing with his sister. The unusually tall format emphasizes Abe's stature, the moral dimension of which comes across clearly. Back-matter includes information on Lincoln's childhood, frontier childhood in general and the Lincoln presidency. Ages 4-up. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3

This charming tale places six-year-old Lincoln in the role of a Good Samaritan, as he gives up the only fish he has managed to catch to a hungry soldier. According to the story, he learned at school that soldiers fight for freedom and listened to his mother, who told him "we must be good to soldiers." Additional details reveal a boy who can be a prankster, wishes he were taller, and ponders the meaning of words like "freedom." Bryant explains the source of this story, a comment by Lincoln as recorded in the Nicolay & Hay biography published in 1890. Additionally, the note addresses specific questions that children might ask about Lincoln's parents, his early life, and the soldier. Bates's lively watercolors have rich detail, depicting Abe as a boy in a coonskin hat, still too small to lift his father's ax. The full-spread, sepia-toned paintings capture his rustic lifestyle, the Kentucky landscape, and the reactions of Abe's family to his generosity. A worthy addition to the iconic portrait of a man so lauded by history.-Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
A soldier from the War of 1812 helps young Abe learn a valuable lesson in this brief tale based on a short passage from Lincoln's first official biography. Abe hops out of bed determined to follow Pa one morning, but he still isn't strong enough to lift the axe out back and so must stay behind. Down at Knob Creek, Abe catches a big fat fish and imagines the joy he'll bring to Ma and sister Sarah with his prize. On the road home, he passes a weary soldier, in torn clothes and worn-out boots. Abe remembers school lessons about freedom and the teachings of his parents and gives the fish to the soldier, asking him whether he found freedom in the war. The answer stays with young Abe all the way to the White House. Bates's pencil-and-watercolor illustrations use a muted palette that gives a period feel, and the handsome design features an appropriately tall, skinny trim. A lengthy author's note and bibliography add classroom value to Bryant's earnest and age-appropriate historical fable. (Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402762529
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 353,449
  • Age range: 4 years
  • Lexile: AD580L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 11.68 (h) x 0.47 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Excellent for children

    History is very relevent for children. Having the fish connection made it of great interest.

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