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IT'S UP TO YOU, ABE LINCOLN

From the It's Up to You series

One decision can change your life…these 10 decisions turned a man into a president.

The father-daughter Hirschfeld team examines the life of Abraham Lincoln in this quirky and humorous biography. The narrative is written as if it’s speaking directly to Lincoln, using active, directional statements that transport readers into each highlighted moment of history. And what a history it is; 10 key moments in Honest Abe’s life (including the coinage of that moniker) are discussed across 10 chapters. Each chapter concludes with a quiz for readers encouraging them to predict how Abe should react to each situation. Each quiz is followed by “The Reveal,” a summary of how and why Lincoln responded to each specific situation. Sprinkled throughout are facts about Lincoln’s life, vocabulary lessons, and archival images of Abe’s contemporaries embellished with humorous, cartoonish speech bubbles. The overall effect gives readers an image of our 16th president that is humanizing and engaging. After the 10 questions have wrapped, the book continues over an additional 10 chapters that are packed with trivia, information on Abe’s personal and professional lives, and one score and change of bibliographic wonders. The humor doesn’t run out in the second half; readers are challenged to imagine Abe’s reactions to modern concepts from genetic engineering to emojis. Educators will love this title for its wealth of information, and young readers will love it for its welcoming tone.

Be a best friend and give this book to someone who has not read it . (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-50953-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Spy fans and cryptographers will seek this one out.

ANNA STRONG AND THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR CULPER SPY RING

From the Spy on History series

A strong main character and an engaging story make for a revolutionary read.

The career of Anna Strong occupies a fascinating footnote in American history. Was she merely a farmer’s wife, or was she a member of one of the most daring spy rings in our country’s history? The pseudonymous author presents a fictionalized version of Anna’s life in the third volume of the Spy on History series. The examination begins during the throes of the American Revolution. After Anna’s husband is imprisoned and then freed, thanks to Anna’s family connections, and returns to patriot-controlled Connecticut, Anna is pulled into a plot to signal a fellow patriot and pass along information. The plan is simple: Anna uses a black petticoat and a series of handkerchiefs to relay a meeting place. “Alberti” pulls readers into the chaos of Anna’s life (and the war) through an omniscient narrator that documents Anna’s movements over the next year. Astute readers will also realize the dangers women faced from soldiers (and fellow countrymen) during this period. Terry’s loose, two-color illustrations depict an all-white cast and provide an additional sense of movement to the text. The trade edition includes a "Spycraft Kit" in the form of an enclosed envelope with inserts for solving a final coded mystery; the library edition publishes without these inclusions for ease of circulation. Backmatter explains the history of the Culper Spy Ring and its role in exposing Gen. Benedict Arnold.

Spy fans and cryptographers will seek this one out. (historical note, answers, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0216-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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