The creators of My Name Is York here shape an amiable portrait of a young Abraham Lincoln as an aspiring scholar and orator: "Reading took last place in Abraham's day, but it was always first place in his heart." Farnsworth bathes the young Lincoln's world in a golden suffused light; sundappled trees offer shade to the boy while he delves into his books. As the hard-working lad labors by day in the fields, he recalls and savors the words he read the previous night. Aesop, the dictionary and the Bible are staples of Abraham's reading list; the latter "nourished and filled him as much as the vittles on the table." The youth also practices his skills as an orator, repeating sermons he has heard while standing on a tree stump in front of his extended family, until they wander away and "nobody was left but the trees." The oil paintings effectively convey the tale's rustic period setting, while emitting an agreeable romanticism (Lincoln is made out to be a good deal better-looking than most historical depictions). This volume treats readers to a narrow though satisfying slice of an oft-documented life. Ages 6-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
When Abraham Lincoln's mother died, she left him precious little—just a book and a wish that her young son read from it every day. And read he did! As Abraham grew, so did his love of words. He hungered to learn how to write, so he practiced using a stick in the snow. He longed to hear the sound of words, so he recited fables for family and neighbors. Van Steenwyk's anecdotal story reveals the character of the young boy on a pioneer farm who grew up to become an American president renowned for his wit, oratorical skills, intelligence and humanity. The text of this picture book brims with homespun eloquence as it captures the time, place and circumstances of young Abraham's life. Farnsworth's full color illustrations, which were rendered in oil on linen, have a fine texture and a dramatic sense of lighting. His artwork is as warm and touchingly honest as the face of Abraham Lincoln himself. 2000, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, $16.00. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Readers are given a brief glimpse of Lincoln as a young man as he pursues his desire to read and hones his speech-making skills. The text, which includes much wilderness jargon such as "vittles" and sophisticated wording such as "Abraham obliged his pa alongside a passel of other men-," carries a lot of information about the family and life in that time and place. The beautiful oil paintings on linen have a haziness that depicts the heat of the day and give a sense of the vast wilderness and loneliness of homesteading. Art and text together present a picture of the obstacles overcome by the determination and force of will of a person who used his achievements to benefit all. This inspirational book can be used along with Marie Bradby's More Than Anything Else (Orchard, 1996), the story of Booker T. Washington's quest for reading. Great for reading alone or sharing.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.