Vinnie and Abraham
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Vinnie and Abraham

by Dawn Fitzgerald, Catherine Stock
     
 

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Vinnie Ream was a small girl with a giant gift for sculpture. This story chronicles Vinnie's life from her arrival in Washington D.C. at the start of the Civil War through her apprenticeship with a famous sculptor and friendship with Abraham Lincoln. After Lincoln's assassination, Vinnie fights doubt and prejudice for the honor of sculpting the full-size statue of

Overview

Vinnie Ream was a small girl with a giant gift for sculpture. This story chronicles Vinnie's life from her arrival in Washington D.C. at the start of the Civil War through her apprenticeship with a famous sculptor and friendship with Abraham Lincoln. After Lincoln's assassination, Vinnie fights doubt and prejudice for the honor of sculpting the full-size statue of Lincoln that now stands in the Capitol rotunda.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Vinnie Ream, age sixteen, is a gifted sculptor. Vinnie arrives in Washington, D.C., in the early 1860s and ends up working in the dead letter office at the U.S. Postal Service. Vinnie demonstrates courage, compassion, and determination and becomes the apprentice of Clark Mills, a famous sculptor. Soon powerful men in Washington are sitting for their busts in Vinnie's studio, and one day President Lincoln agrees to work with the young girl. For five months, Vinnie sculpts the President's bravery and sadness into a realistic depiction. When he is suddenly assassinated in April of 1865, Vinnie is devastated. But she resolves to sculpt her statue for the Capitol Rotunda and works hard to make her dream come true. Children and parents will enjoy Dawn Fitzgerald's story, which brings Vinnie Ream to life in vivid detail. Catherine Stock's lively illustrations add a special touch to a book that fuses history with a wonderfully crafted narrative.
School Library Journal

Gr 2–4
Vinnie Ream is best known for her life-size marble statue of Abraham Lincoln, unveiled in 1871 when she was only 23 years old, that stands in the Capitol Rotunda. Little information on this fascinating American sculptor has been available for an elementary audience. FitzGerald does a credible job of filling that gap. She chronicles Ream's life, including her Wisconsin childhood, the family's move to Washington, DC, at the beginning of the Civil War, and her distinction, at the age of 14, of being one of the first women hired by the U.S. Post Office. She covers Ream's apprenticeship to a prominent sculptor and her growing relationships with Congressmen who came to have their statues made, and who eventually persuaded the president to sit for her. FitzGerald puts the controversy surrounding her receipt of the commission for Lincoln's memorial statue in a context understandable by elementary students, avoiding mention of the scandalous allegations made at the time concerning how an inexperienced young woman could sway members of Congress. No mention is made of Ream's possible involvement in affecting the vote during Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial. Stock's watercolors capture the energy and excitement of both the young woman and Civil War Washington, although why the endpapers are festooned with a jumble of flowers is a mystery. An author's note discusses which aspects of the book have been fictionalized and the remainder of the woman's life. While the writing seems rushed at times, this is a good introduction.
—Grace OliffCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Vinnie Ream was very small (under five-feet-tall), but she was also strong, smart and a talented sculptor. Her standing statue of President Abraham Lincoln in the capitol rotunda was completed while she was still a teenager. FitzGerald romanticizes and sentimentalizes her story, but Vinnie did indeed work at the post office during the Civil War, and sang for wounded soldiers in hospital. Vinnie spent five months sculpting Lincoln's head in clay in preparation, and she was the youngest artist and the first woman to receive a commission from the government. She went on to sculpt many other notable Americans, including Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee and Sequoyah. Stock's watercolor illustrations capture Vinnie's beautiful energy, as well as life in Washington DC during and after the war. The author's note explains that while several of the quotes are fiction, the story is based on the sculptor's writings and other biographies of her. A resource list will allow readers to explore further in print and online. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570916441
Publisher:
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
02/28/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Dawn FitzGerald is a former teacher and the author of several books for children, including GETTING IN THE GAME (Roaring Brook) and JULIA BUTTERFLY HILL: SAVING THE REDWOODS (Millbrook). She lives in Pepper Pike, Ohio.

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