Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ABE’S HONEST WORDS by Doreen Rappaport


The Life of Abraham Lincoln

by Doreen Rappaport & illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4231-0408-7
Publisher: Hyperion

Rappaport plainly explicates the major events in Abraham Lincoln’s life from his poor beginnings to the assassin’s bullet. Her explanations of Lincoln’s intellectual and social condemnation of slavery, and that condemnation’s increasing influence on his decisions as President, arguably rank among the clearest in nonfiction for this age group (although as compressed as most): “The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves only in the states and territories that were in rebellion. Lincoln wanted slavery ended in the entire nation.” A design companion to Martin’s Big Words (2001), Nelson’s compelling illustrations, worked in a palette of umber, ochre, red and blue, epically render such scenes as the suffering of enslaved field workers, and Lincoln towering above the crowd at Gettysburg. By placing the viewer virtually at ground level in relation to the picture plane, Nelson evokes the heroism inherent in his compositions’ central figures. Regrettably, the failure to contextualize the Lincoln quotations sprinkled throughout diminishes the historical verisimilitude of this otherwise remarkable achievement. (author’s and illustrator’s notes, timeline, suggested reading, selected bibliography of sources, Gettysburg Address) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)