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by Abraham Lincoln & illustrated by Michael McCurdy

Age Range: 4 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-395-69824-3
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

 The deliberate pace Lincoln's words acquire when spaced out in this powerful, somber book gloriously introduces the most famous speech in American history to a new generation and gives fresh meaning to those who have read and heard it before. Everything about the book is admirable. The type is beautiful, simple, and restrained. The black-and-white illustrations strike an interesting balance between the look of period engravings and the cropping and muscular vigor of a more contemporary point of view. In a particularly striking spread, readers see the close-ups of crosses marking graves while in the background a crowd has gathered to hear the speech on a plain marked by a cannon-blasted tree. Another scene shows a group of wounded, bandaged menone without a foot, one without a forearmwho serve as visual reminders of the human cost of battle. A short introduction by historian Garry Wills provides context without weighing the book down with information; the more personal note about McCurdy's great-grandfather Jack, who fought in the battle and lived to tell about it, adds a satisfying sense of connectedness between the generations. (Picture book. 4+)