Minor Lincolniana -- and a portrait of a period and a region, with considerable rustic detail and charm, in this biography of Lincoln's teacher in New Salem, Illinois. Here is pioneer Kentucky and Illinois -- Mentor's upbringing in the Baptist hellfire and blab schools of the day, hard palms and hard work for a childhood which ended quickly. Serious, industrious, gentle, Mentor early revealed his love of learning, taught himself with the few books he could ill afford to buy -- and married, in the custom of the region, before he was turned 16, Sarah, who was 13. Frequent pregnancies and miscarriages and deaths made Sarah harsh and quick of tongue, unsympathetic with Mentor's ambitions, until he gained in stature and recognition as a teacher. They moved to New Salem, Illinois, and she accepted life there. And there young Abe became Mentor's best pupil and close friend. His teacher's staunch support during his formative years and his march to fame -- followed by sorrow with Lincoln's untimely death marked the pattern of subsequent years. The text was based on research among friends and family -- for history contributes little to go on. Primarily a portrait of a disciplined, lovable teacher.