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A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women Hardcover – September 16, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Soldiers, scientists, performers, writers, entrepreneurs, politicians, quilt makers, pilots... as author Lynne Cheney writes, "America’s amazing women have much to teach our children--and much inspiration to offer us, as well." Coming on the heels of America: A Patriotic Primer (Cheney’s previous collaboration with illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser), A Is for Abigail celebrates the achievements of women in American history, with a special emphasis on the individuals who helped win equal rights for women. As with America, Cheney uses an alphabet book format to introduce hundreds of remarkable real women: "O is for SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR and others who were first." In addition to the first woman Supreme Court Justice, the "O" page includes Wilma Mankiller, first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation; Jeannette Rankin, first female member of Congress; and Nellie Tayloe Ross, first woman governor. Glasser’s playful illustrations are lively and busy, inviting readers to explore Abigail Adams's farm or the crowded city block that houses "V is for VARIETY," with its DNA lab, dance studio, dentist office, and "PERSONS at WORK" sign. Snippets of information about each featured woman give a taste; ideally, readers will seek more in-depth biographies about the historical figures who pique their interests. (Ages 6 to 9) --Emilie Coulter

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4-Similar in design and concept to America (S & S, 2002), this alphabet book is attractive and fun to read. Through it, Cheney hopes to educate children about a number of strong individuals who contributed to American society, and, in many cases, helped women to gain their civil rights. With rare exceptions, the profiled women were born before 1950. For each letter, a page features a person or a concept. The "E" page, for example, discusses six educators. The letter "J" is associated with Anna Jarvis, advocate of the Mother's Day holiday. Information about each figure is given in a phrase or one-sentence reference to her major achievement. The colorful, cartoonlike illustrations make this book particularly engaging, and the detail and varied design of the pages are additional enhancements. Some of the pages have borders containing the names of the women who fit the letter category, such as the authors listed in the borders on the "W" page, which cameos Edith Wharton and lauds women as writers. All of the people are shown in active postures. A double gatefold producing the effect of an opening theater curtain reveals an array of performers ranging from Mary Martin as a flying Peter Pan to Mahalia Jackson singing. While the information is limited, the overall effect creates an awareness of the totality of American women's achievements.
Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, Waterford, NJ
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1030L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books; First Edition edition (September 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689858191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689858192
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lynne Cheney's most recent book is the New York Times bestseller, We the People: The Story of Our Constitution, illustrated by Greg Harlin. She is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers America: A Patriotic Primer, A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women, When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots, A Time for Freedom: What Happened When in America, and Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America, and has written a memoir, Blue Skies, No Fences. Mrs. Cheney is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Vice President Richard B. Cheney.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
You might think that from the title of "A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women," that Lynne Cheney (yes, the wife of the Vice President of the United States), is going to introduce us to twenty-six women, one for each letter of the alphabet. You might be wondering if Cheney is going to go by first names or last names, since Abigail is Abigail Adams (the wife of the first Vice President of the United States) and you could go either way. The answer to the second question is the Cheney uses last names but more importantly on the first point she introduces us to a lot more than twenty-six American women. For example, "D" is for Emily Dickinson, the country's greatest poet, but the names of other poets from Edna St. Vincent Milay to Sylvia Plath, while "F" is for the First Ladies from Martha Washington to Laura Bush, and includes a great quotation from Barbara Bush's great commencement speech at Wellesley College in 1990. Then you should see the four page spread that opens up to show all the performers for "P," from Carol Burnett to Katharine Hepburn, or everything that is crammed into the two pages on "U" for US history.
The back of this book includes Notes on the Text that provides details about all 28 of those poets and some of the First Ladies. The illustrations are by Robin Preiss Glasser, who collaborated with Cheney on "America: A Patriotic Primer." Hopefully one day young readers will be able to appreciate the details that Glasser puts into her art, such as having Carol Burnett in the infamous curtain dress from the "Gone with the Wind" parody and doing the painting of Mary Cassatt in the style of a Mary Cassatt painting.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on April 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When John Adams began considering what laws should be made, his wife Abigail wrote from the family farm: "I desire you would remember the ladies." A familiar line in American history, but here is the rest of it: "If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound to any laws by which we have no voice or representation."

Is it any wonder that Writer Lynne Cheney and illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser begin their alphabet Almanac of Amazing American Women with Abigail Adams? Cheney, herself the wife of a Vice President and accomplished children's writer, and Glasser, a former ballet soloist and professional children's illustrator, have jointly produced several books about Americana: Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America and America : A Patriotic Primer. This one about women throughout American history is dear to the hearts of both women.

Because Abigail is first in many ways, she gets a two-page spread filled to the edges of the pages with depictions of life on the Adams farm, which Abigail ran single-handedly while John helped found a country. Glasser's illustrations are a delight to the eye. A child could spend quite a while on each of these pages, just reveling in the details of the lively illustrations.

B is for Elizabeth Blackwell, the center figure and the first woman to earn a medical degree, with four other healers in the four corners, plus names of nine other written in the empty spaces. It is fun to follow the trails of words and count the extra names.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Kendall H. Gelner on October 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A reviewer below seems to be harboring some kind of hateful grudge against the author stating that it does not offer us women involved in science or chemistry. Yet the book itself offers us Mary Kies for "K" - the first woman to receive a patent, and on the same page other people like Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar (certainly a fine feat of chemical engineering). Other pages offer women from all walks of life, from businesspeople to writers to public figures of great import.

It's a shame that people see fit to dismiss authors and their works just because of who they marry and are not actually open minded enough to read the works before commenting.

But you the reader can see for yourself - I recommend you browse a few pages using the Amazon "Search Inside" feature (select "surprise me" in the book viewer to see an illustrated page from the book) and see what a terrific job the illustrator has done throughout in addition to the great range of women selected.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Julie Jordan Scott on November 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My daughters and I can sit for hours on each page, discussing the women profiled and their impact on history. I loved discovering favorites of mine such as on the Anne Sullivan/Helen Keller picture my six year old delightedly intoned: �It�s the teacher!!� referring to the play �The Miracle Worker� we saw several months ago).
There are also lesser known forerunners: Mary Katherine Goddard, first woman publisher in America in the 18th Century, Elizabeth Blackwell, the 1st Woman to earn a medical degree.
Another story about the books namesake: A is for Abigail: we read about the impact Abigail Adams had upon the political process within the context of her time. How she participated in the US Revolutionary war in a different way than the men AND it was significant as well. We also learned how her vast letter writing to her husband, future president John Adams, effected our history, especially in her words, �I desire that you should remember the ladies.�
Excellent for girls and boys alike, this is one that can be visited again, and again, and again.
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