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WHAT LINCOLN SAID by Sarah L. Thomson


by Sarah L. Thomson and illustrated by James E. Ransome

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-084819-4
Publisher: Collins

As a young lad, Abraham Lincoln learned the importance of an honest wage, and his work ethic garnered results. From Lincoln’s transition from law into politics, Thomson succinctly describes slavery’s impact in the Civil War and the president’s resulting actions. Lincoln’s nuanced personality comes through clearly in his direct quotations, well-chosen and reproduced in a colored type within the text, revealing both the man’s humor and conviction. Commenting on his unfavorable looks when called two-faced, Lincoln replies, “If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?” These lighter moments are effectively contrasted against Lincoln’s monumental decision to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, which concludes this selection and is appropriately complicated both within the account and in an expanded note in the backmatter. Ransome portrays the president with an exaggerated stature, stretching out Lincoln’s elongated limbs even further at times for emphasis. His double-page paintings are most effective when depicting a solitary Lincoln, reaching out to the American people. A solid introduction, although source notes are lacking. (timeline, author’s, illustrator’s notes) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)