Mr. Miers knows that ""more books (have been) written about him than about anybody who ever lived"" and he shows why in a genial, often rambunctious yarn that reflects frontier life and the character of his hero. On the ground-breaking, house-building, hard-drinking trail that Abe's father follows through Kentucky and Indiana into Illinois, Abe pulls his weight and then some, gets to be a champion log lifter and axe swinger; he also goes to ""blab school"" briefly and becomes a great reader. And he takes to the stump (literally), preaching on Sundays and talking politics or telling funny stories almost any other time. His mother dies of the milk-sick (""I wish I could have died for her""), a new wife arrives with a bureau worth forty dollars (""but what was she worth?"") and takes great pride in Abe's intelligence. This, then, is Abe up to his ill-fated store-keeping, a crackling narrative of true incidents fleshed out with some fictional dialogue that mostly sounds like what might have been said. Affecting without being maudlin, it's a likable introduction to a near-legend, also suited to older kids who are slow readers.