My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln – new children’s book available
Abraham Lincoln has been the subject of hundreds of books, ranging from various biographies to analyses of his speeches, his assassination, his religious beliefs, his political genius, and his conduct of the Civil War. He remains a fascinating character who is perhaps the most recognizable American president (my oldest grandson at the age of 2 delighted in showing me all the Lincoln souvenirs at the Gettysburg National Military Park’s Museum Bookstore). Whether one agrees with Lincoln’s policies and beliefs, he has become over the years an iconic symbol of America, along with George Washington and Ben Franklin.
There have been many attempts to introduce Lincoln to young readers, some quite good and some forgettable. Kansas author Robert L. Bloch has added to the former by writing a children’s book which portrays the youth of “Honest Abe” through the eyes of a fictional companion. My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln: A Tale of Two Boys From Indiana is entertaining and well written, with excellent illustrations.
Primarily set in southwestern Indiana when Lincoln was 11 to 14 years old, the book traces Lincoln’s rise to become the 16th President of the United States in a fashion young readers will enjoy.
Illustrations such as the one over are whimsical and entertaining for children, and convey the sense of Lincoln as a friendly lad (and later adult). it is no wonder these illustrations are so attractive. Illustrator John W. Ewing was an animation artist for Walt Disney Studios whose many credits include Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and the Jungle Book.
Written in a style so that school-aged children can readily read the text for themselves, the book, with Ewing’s captivating drawings, should also be perfect for parents and grandparents to sit down with smaller children in their laps and read the story aloud. Library story hours, school / classroom settings, and babysitter time are all strong possibilities as well.
The genesis for My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln came in part from author Robert L. Bloch’s family legacy. His great-great-grandfather,. Jonas Wollman, was a distinguished abolitionist in Kansas before the Civil War. Wollman was one of 52 Leavenworth merchants and business people to sign a letter asking Lincoln to come and visit. Leavenworth became the site of Lincoln’s first campaign speech in December 1859 (today a statue in downtown commemorates Lincoln’s appearance in Leavenworth).
This charming children’s book is now available on amazon.com, as well as many bookstores both “brick-and-mortar” establishments and other on-line retailers.
I don’t often review children’s books, but this one offers so much personal promise for delightful hours with my four grandsons (my daughter just had twin boys this past weekend!). I expect years of entertainment and subtle history education in “Grandpa’s Story Hour”!
Kudos to Bob Bloch and John Ewing for a fine product and a job well done!
My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln: A Tale of Two Boys From Indiana
Robert L. Bloch
Illustrated by John W. Ewing
Big Tent Books, June 2011
Hardcover, 32 pages, illustrated
List price $13.95