Monday, June 28, 2010

Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by P.J. Lynch

This is a collection of stories about Abraham Lincoln told from two of his sons, Willie and Tad.  In the first section, Willie recalls a trip to Chicago with his father, the lawyer.  The boys know that something big is about to happen, and Tad's father confides in him that he is about to run for President.  Tad's account of the trip is done in great fondness as he recalls many details of the trip: the train ride, waiting for his father at the courthouse while he works, meals together, and going to see entertainment.

In the second section, Willie narrates the experience of their family traveling to Washington DC after their father was elected President of the United States.  It is is an unstable time in America as war between the Northern States and Southern States is about to break loose.  The boys remember their father being carted off by the Secret Service, visiting their father in the Oval Office (much to the chagrin of his Cabinet...but they know their father loves the interruption....and playing in the White House with the Taft boys. 

In the third section, Tad recalls the painful experience of his brother's death and the effects that has on his family, and spending lots of time with his father as the war continues.  Tad sees the incredible toil the war has caused on his father, and he looks forward to returning to Springfield.  When the war finally does end, he observes his father celebrate victory in a most conservative and reluctant way and looks forward to returning home.

What I Thought: 
I adore stories about good ol' Abe and this one is no exception.  I loved how this book is narrated by Lincoln's sons, and it is quite obvious that the boys adored their father and the feeling was mutual.

I can never get enough stories of fathers who are just plain awesome. 

In the Author's Note, Wells talks about her research and how Lincoln may be one of the most documented personal histories as so many people left memoirs regarding this man and his family.  While this work is technically fiction, she points out that "The incidents in this story...are grounded in historical fact.  No detail was imagined or invented except the dialogue and the circumstances in which it took place." 

I love that Wells did so much research for this story and the result between that and her storytelling is that the reader feels connected to the whole Lincoln family, through the good times, and the bad.

Oh, and Lynch's illustrations are simply gorgeous.  Amazing. 

This is a wonderful book for those who enjoy Lincoln!  What a great short read-aloud for a class who is studying this president and it would give an exciting different perspective from the textbook. 

Very highly recommended. 

Want to see more?  Check it out on Amazon: Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by P.J. Lynch.

Reviewed from a library copy. 

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