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He Has Shot the President!: April 14, 1865: The Day John Wilkes Booth Killed President Lincoln


The headline shocked the nation: President Lincoln Shot by Assassin John Wilkes Booth! One of the most exciting stories in American history told with full color illustrations.

The fifth installment in Don Brown's Actual Times series featuring significant days in American history covers the Lincoln assassination and ensuing manhunt. In He Has Shot the President!, both Lincoln and Booth emerge as vivid characters, defined by the long and brutal Civil War and set on a ...

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The headline shocked the nation: President Lincoln Shot by Assassin John Wilkes Booth! One of the most exciting stories in American history told with full color illustrations.

The fifth installment in Don Brown's Actual Times series featuring significant days in American history covers the Lincoln assassination and ensuing manhunt. In He Has Shot the President!, both Lincoln and Booth emerge as vivid characters, defined by the long and brutal Civil War and set on a collision course toward tragedy. With his characteristic straightforward storytelling voice and dynamic watercolor illustration, Don Brown gives readers a chronological account of the events and also captures the emotion of the death of America's greatest president.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 01/27/2014
The fifth book in the Actual Times series is a sober account of the assassination of President Lincoln. Booth “believed that robbing the Union of the president’s leadership would cripple the North and save the South,” writes Brown; the assassination takes place early on, and the brunt of the book follows Booth’s attempted flight, Lincoln’s death, and the “relentless, sweeping investigation” to find Booth and his conspirators. Brown’s shadowy pencil-and-watercolor images mitigate some of the horror of events that included multiple shootings, stabbings, and the eventual hanging of four involved with the assassination plot. Even so, a sense of the nation’s loss reverberates through this harrowing recounting. Ages 6–9. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Jeanna Potts
Everyone knows the basic facts of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, but this book reveals the events leading up to the assassination and the details of what happens afterwards. John Wilkes Booth originally plots to kidnap Abraham Lincoln and give him to the Confederate army leaders, but the war ends before he can complete the plan. He and his cohorts now decide to kill President Abraham Lincoln, Vice-President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Seward, hoping this will cause the North to collapse and enable the South to survive. Booth goes to the theater, and places a wooden bar for jamming the door later in the President’s box. He has Mary Surratt stash guns at a tavern. There are details about how Booth spends the day while waiting for Lincoln to arrive and a step-by step description of the reaction of people around Lincoln and in the audience as the assassination is committed. Some think the assassination and Booth jumping to the stage are part of the performance. The story then goes to the home of Secretary of State William Seward who is in bed recovering from a serious carriage accident. Here, one of Booth’s group, Lewis Powell, attempts to kill Seward, but Seward’s son, daughter, and nurse fend off the attacker. Seward and his nurse are stabbed, and his son is knocked unconscious, but Powell flees without successfully killing Seward. The man who is supposed to assassinate Vice-President Johnson gets drunk and abandons his assignment. Next, the story describes the last hours of Lincoln’s life and the escape of Booth and David Herold, another member of Booth’s group. Dr. Samuel Mudd, who hides the men in his home, sets Booth’s broken leg. Confederates help Booth and Herold escape on the Potomac River. After some miscues, Booth and Herold escape to Virginia, but the Northern detectives eventually locate the men twelve days after the assassination. The author thoroughly researched the topic and includes his sources in a bibliography. He presents often ignored information in a style that will appeal to young readers. This book is a good supplement for teaching students about Lincoln’s assassination. There are colorful sketches depicting scenes in the book. Reviewer: Jeanna Potts; Ages 6 to 9.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—On this fateful day, Lincoln planned a carriage ride in the park and an evening at the theater with his wife. At the same time, John Wilkes Booth planned to kill the president. Here, Brown tells the story of that day and its aftermath, with a clear and engaging narrative style, covering not only the assassination but also other attacks planned by Booth and his friends: the stabbing of Secretary of State William Seward and a planned attack on Vice President Andrew Johnson, which never came to fruition. The narrative continues with the story of Booth's flight and capture, Lincoln's death, Seward's recovery, and the fate of Booth's coconspirators. The narrative reads like fiction, though Brown is careful to stick closely to his source material, and only when a person's words are known does he include the quotations as dialogue. The book's end matter consists of a brief bibliography, though sources for specific quotations are not cited. Brown's muted but action-filled illustrations add visual interest and occasionally help convey information, such as showing the layout of Lincoln's box at Ford's Theatre. Most libraries will find this a useful addition to their collections as the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's death draws near. This should be an interesting and illuminating title that serves as a good introduction to the topic for young people, and some readers may wish to move on to James L. Swanson's Chasing Lincoln's Killer (Scholastic, 2009) for more in-depth coverage of the subject.—Misti Tidman, Licking County Library, Newark, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Traditional journalistic questions are applied to Abraham Lincoln's assassination and funeral, as well as the roundup and executions of John Wilkes Booth and his associates. Facing the title page is a drawing of John Wilkes Booth, smoking gun in hand, with a speech bubble: "I do not repent the blow I struck." On the first text page is a watercolor cartoon of Lincoln and the sentence, "It was a rare, cheerful day for President Abraham Lincoln." Next, the Confederate flag hangs in defeat, as text explains both Lincoln's satisfaction with the Civil War's results and how this filled John Wilkes Booth "with seething rage." Readers then learn about Booth's failed kidnapping scheme, his cadre of supporters, and the bungled attempts by his cohorts to kill the vice president and secretary of state, which are contrasted with Booth's successful mission. The text includes often underreported facts about the era's political climate, such as the possibly hundreds of people killed if "caught gloating over the murder." Details such as having to lay out the long-bodied Lincoln diagonally on his deathbed and the clues used to track down the escaped Booth are integrated in fast-paced, accessible language. The atmospheric illustrations are void of some of the text's gorier details, but the topic's general handling, which assumes considerable historical knowledge, suggests an older audience than the publisher's recommended 6-10. Sadly, there are no child-friendly suggestions for further reading. Suitable for avid younger historians and older reluctant readers. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-12)
From the Publisher
"Middle-graders who have discovered Brown's series on pivotal episodes in American history will welcome this latest title." - BCCB

"This fifth entry in Brown’s Actual Times series (including All Stations Distress, rev. 9/08) begins on April 14, 1865, the day Lincoln was assassinated. Brown introduces both major actors, Lincoln and Booth, and then begins the tricky task of chronologically following each man to his death . . . A fine book." —The Horn Book

"Fast-paced, accessible." —Kirkus Reviews 

*"A sense of the nation’s loss reverberates through this harrowing recounting." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"An interesting and illuminating title that serves as a good introduction to the topic for young people." - School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596432246
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Series: Actual Times Series , #5
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 630,820
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Brown is the author and illustrator of many highly praised picture-book biographies and histories for children. He lives on Long Island, New York.

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