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LINCOLN AND HIS BOYS by Rosemary Wells


by Rosemary Wells and illustrated by P.J. Lynch

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3723-1
Publisher: Candlewick

A series of three chapter-long snapshots gives readers glimpses of Lincoln the man as seen through the eyes of his two younger sons, Willie and Tad. In the first chapter, Willie goes to Chicago with his father, who is preparing for his presidential bid. Chapter two recounts the Lincolns’ arrival in Washington and the beginning of the Civil War. Tad finishes the tale by himself, covering the period between his brother’s death and the end of the war, stopping short before his father’s assassination. Shot through this brief narrative are the boys’ mother’s moodiness and their father’s vaunted humor and loving warmth toward his children. The boys’ perspective allows Wells to elevate her subject to heroic proportions and to give readers intimate access to his humanity at the same time, an effect reinforced by Lynch’s unself-consciously sentimental paintings. Where the narrative falls short is in the characterization of the two narrators, who never quite achieve three dimensions. In a year crammed with Lincoln-themed offerings, this one stands as a solid but not necessary purchase. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)