Joining the likes of Betsy Ross and Beatrix Potter, Alexandra Wallner's newest biography, Abigail Adams, brings another famous woman to life. She depicts Adams as loyal, curious and determined to "[speak] up against slavery and for women's rights" during the time of the American Revolution, through to her days when, as First Lady, hers was the first presidential family to occupy the White House. Detailed full-page illustrations depict colonial dress and architecture. ( Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
I was very pleased to review this book. As a wife and mother, I was reassured to read a book that affirms this role. I believe a woman can be a wife and mother first and still be a strong and important voice in her community. This was the sort of woman Abigail Adams was, as this nicely illustrated biography explains. A wonderful story to read aloud to your daughters (or sons), this book offers history enrichment and will make a great gift. 2001, Holiday House, Inc., $16.95. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: A. Braga SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
Abigail Adams, wife of the second president and mother of the sixth, was a colonial woman. From her very early years Abigail was curious and outspoken, she wanted to learn and begged for an education at a time when girls did not receive much formal schooling. As a colonial woman, she knew her future depended on her husband, and she made a good choice with John Adams. While her husband was away helping the colonists by serving in the Massachusetts legislature and also as their new country's representative in France, Abigail wrote letters (more than 2,000 survive). She spoke her mind and urged her husband and others to consider the rights of women and slaves. She also spend her time raising her own children and managing the Adams farms and properties. After John Adams lost his bid for reelection in 1800, they retired, and thanks to Abigail's management and money skills they lived comfortably and happily among their friends and family. Wallner closes with a quote from Abigail "I will never consent to have our sex considered an inferior point of light." How happy she would be to see the strides that women have gained. 2001, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Adams is introduced as a bright, curious individual whose thoughts about freedom and equality transcend her domestic chores. Though women's rights were meager in the 18th century, this strong-minded lady managed to make a political statement by brewing "liberty tea" and weaving her own cloth to avoid buying British goods. Her numerous letters included all sorts of advice from tips on etiquette to how to run the country. Though her first duty was to her husband and children, she never relented in her desire to abolish slavery and bring equal rights to women. This picture-book biography introduces readers to the upheavals of revolution that resulted in the reorganization of the country into a democracy. It portrays the wife of a president and mother of another as a woman who was ahead of her time. It is written for a younger audience than Clare H. Meeker's Partner in Revolution: Abigail Adams (Benchmark, 1997) or Francene Sabin's Young Abigail Adams (Troll, 1997). Full-page, colorful pictures in a folk-art style contribute greatly to the text, capturing the daily life, clothing, and household routines of the times.-Ilene Abramson, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Abigail Adams, wife and mother of American presidents, with a remarkable story of her own, gets a rather dull introduction to her life in Wallner's (Sergio and the Hurricane, 2000, etc.) picture-book biography. Wallner's text plods through Abigail's life, noting important dates and events, particularly the birth of all her children. Abigail supports her husband in his fight for independence at home, where she runs the family farm and manages the finances and her growing family. She also joins Adams in England when he is ambassador there. Later, she becomes the first president's wife to live in the White House. Abigail is shown as a strong woman, disappointed in her efforts to win a place for women and blacks in the new Constitution. Readers learn about Abigail's thoughts and personality as she matures from child to adult, from homemaker to public figure, but unfortunately we do not hear more than a few phrases in Abigail's own voice. Abigail, who is known through her many published letters, was a lively and interesting correspondent and little of that liveliness permeates this effort. The author's folkart-style illustrations depict a homely group of colonialists in pleasantly colorful detail. A timeline and bibliography would have been helpful to young researchers. This intelligent, early feminist and civil-rights advocate deserves better. (Biography. 8-10)