From Publishers Weekly
From their opening sentences ("See that tall, tall man in that tall black hat? Know who he is?"), Cohn, who compiled From Sea to Shining Sea, and Schmidt, who contributed to same, effectively involve readers in this breezy picture-book biography. Typeset in large, bold-face letters, the first four words quoted above are stacked one on top of each other, mimicking not only Lincoln's imposing stature (he stands tall on the facing page), but the book's fittingly vertical format. Initially, the informal narrative seems as rough-hewn as Lincoln's early lifestyle: "He's a boy of seven now. My, he's strong. Strong enough to plow and plant 'longside his pappy." After anecdotally tracing Lincoln's peripatetic path, as he dabbles in various livelihoods, the authors note that he eventually began working "as hard with his head as ever he had with his hands." Turning then to a description of the man's political prowess and accomplishments, the prose becomes more polished and refined, as do the quotations revealing this remarkable leader's insight and eloquence. Like the narrative, Johnson's (Old Mother Hubbard) period-evoking, earth-toned art, rendered in ink and watercolor wash, evolves with the passage of time, moving from spare, grainy pictures to more clearly defined, sophisticated images. A balanced, artfully composed portrait. Ages 7-11.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grades 2-4--This picture-book biography of the Great Emancipator is a winner. Readers are taken from Lincoln's humble birth to his sad death, each of which took place on a cornhusk mattress. The writing is lively and irresistible: "-all his life his knees and nose got a little too friendly every time he sat down." There's a tall-tale feel to the text and to the illustrations. "School? Wasn't much time for that. Abe did go-by littles-." Pictures are done in pen and ink with watercolor washes. The palette is soft and muted. In one depiction, a sunburned Abe is shown building a log cabin. He's barefoot, shirtless, and his pants are held up by one suspender while a book lies open at his feet. Another shows him as wartime president, the weight of the world on his shoulders. Finally, readers are shown a rendition of the Lincoln Memorial. "He looks like a giant, doesn't he? He was." There are many fine titles on the 16th president, such as Ann Turner's Abe Lincoln Remembers (HarperCollins, 2001). Cohn and Schmidt's contribution has a wonderfully fresh approach and will grab the interest of young audiences in both classroom and library settings.
Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.