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The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary Hardcover – October 14, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1050L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375836187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375836183
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 6 Up—What did this backwoods boy and this bluegrass girl have in common? Using her signature scrapbook approach, Fleming lays out the answer in a biography that gives equal emphasis to Abraham and Mary Lincoln for an insightful portrait of their lives. Her scholarship over five years pays off with a rich account that is personal and concrete. She recounts Mary's early life as a privileged—but motherless—child, her ambitions for her husband, and her role as "first lady" (a term originally coined for her). Large and small details are juxtaposed with specifics about Lincoln and broadened by Mary's significance. For example, a political decision was made regarding her attendance at the debates; Lincoln wanted to preserve his "common man" image rather than show off his refined and educated wife. Unlike most biographies, which conclude with Lincoln's death, this one follows Mary's story to the end, detailing Robert Todd's role in her commitment to an insane asylum, Tad's death, and her own demise. Presented in period typefaces, the boxed bits of text, sidebars, and numerous running heads and subheads add detail. From portraits to pets, the book contains a wide variety of graphics, including written and visual primary documents that enrich every spread. Notes, resources, and source notes are exemplary. It's hard to imagine a more engaging or well-told biography of the Lincolns.—Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Using the same innovative scrapbook format employed in Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) and Our Eleanor (2005), Fleming offers another standout biographical title, this time twining accounts of two lives—Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln—into one fascinating whole. On spreads that combine well-chosen visuals with blocks of headlined text, Fleming gives a full, birth-to-death view of the “inextricably bound” Lincolns. Once again, Fleming humanizes her subjects and offers a broader perspective on their times with cleverly juxtaposed facts, anecdotes, and images. One page, for example, combines an 1861 map of the divided U.S. with detailed descriptions of what the new president and First Lady each tackled the day after Lincoln’s inauguration (Fort Sumter and securing a dressmaker, respectively). Although the reproductions are often small and dark, the intriguing visual mix will easily draw readers and browsers alike. Included are paintings and etchings of heartrending historical events, church documents, handwritten notes, and political cartoons. Fleming’s writing, filled with quotes and personal details, is just as lively as the assortment of images, and an extensive time line, suggested resources, and source notes round out the text. Starting with her personal introduction, this exemplary resource will prompt readers to consider how an individual’s life story, and a country’s history, are constructed. Grades 7-12. --Gillian Engberg

Customer Reviews

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Very interesting book.
I also think it would make an excellent addition to a social studies classroom.
The Well-Read Child
Rare photos and illustrations leap out from the pages.
Betty J. Darst

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Well-Read Child on January 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Full of photos, clippings, letters, political cartoons, and more, this book offers a comprehensive look at the lives of Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln in an impressive and thoroughly researched scrapbook-style format.

It tells the story of both Abraham and Mary's very different upbringings, their courtship and marriage, Abraham's ascent into politics and his presidency, and much much more. Along the way, Candace Fleming presents many interesting and captivating stories about the Lincolns including Mary's spending habits, Lincoln's love interests before he met Mary, and the tragic deaths of three of their children.

What's most impressive is that the writing is not dry. I found myself wanting to read more and enjoyed the fact that the information was presented in chunks and not long, boring, chapters. While some readers may initially be put off by the book's size, they can control how much they want to read, whether it be just browsing or reading the book from cover to cover.

While the reading level is for a young audience, it would definitely make a great choice for older history buffs, especially Civil War enthusiasts. I also think it would make an excellent addition to a social studies classroom.

Fleming has given us a book that puts a human touch to the lives of the legendary couple in an approachable, entertaining manner.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on November 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that 'all men are created equal.'" -- Lincoln, from the Gettysburg Address

"One February afternoon in 1817, while Abraham's father was away, a flock of turkeys strutted into a clearing outside his cabin. Inside, Abraham grabbed his father's rifle, 'shot through a crack and killed one of them.' Proud of his marksmanship, he raced to collect his prize...then stopped short. The turkey, he saw, was beautiful! Guilt washed over him. How could he have killed something so majestic? 'My early start as a hunter,' he later recalled, 'was never much improved afterward.' In fact, he never again 'pulled a trigger on any larger game.'"

Early in the morning, one hundred and forty-three years ago today (April 15), Abraham Lincoln, having been shot the previous evening by John Wilkes Booth in Ford's Theater, died across the street from the theater in Petersen's Boarding House. Mary Lincoln, his wife of thirty-two years, never really recovered from that night.

Mary, in contrast to Abraham's oft-told humble beginnings, was brought up with "piano lessons, Persian rugs, and slaves to wait on her." Mary was an unusual young woman for her time because she was exceptionally well-educated:

"After reading Wollstonecraft's book [A Vindication of the Rights of Woman], Mary's father was convinced Mary should receive 'a substantial rather than ornamental education.' While his other daughters were also given formal educations, it was Mary -- with her sharp mind -- who studied mathematics and philosophy. Of course, Mr.Todd didn't expect his daughter to use this education; she wasn't going to take up a profession.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie M. Prince on November 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Candace Fleming had already won me over with her biography, Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life, so I was excited to read The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary. Fleming not only did not disappoint, she exceeded my expectations with this rich and impressive peek into the lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln.

I read every page and every caption that explained the history from birth to death of these amazing individuals. Everyone knows the basic history of Abraham Lincoln, but the author went far beyond log cabins and Ford's Theatre. She delved into the individual relationships between Abraham and the many people who were a part of his life, most importantly, his relationship with his wife. Mary had such a fascinating background that much of the book discussed her own upbringing and her role in making Abraham who and what he was.

No stone was left unturned in this biography. A balanced view of the positive and negative aspects of each personality trait and action was presented, giving readers the scoop on subjects often skimmed by in general American history.

Aside from engaging, storytelling-style writing, readers can look forward to accompanying illustrations that don't frequent other Lincoln biographies. Dozens and dozens of photographs of the Lincolns, their children, their homes, and their companions fill the pages, along with copies of letters written in their own hands, receipts for purchases, ledgers, and famous speeches.

I came away from this biography feeling well-informed and satisfied. The book will have a permanent place on my bookshelf, right next to Our Eleanor, with future space left for Ms. Fleming's next brilliant creation.

This review is cross posted from YA (& Kids) Books Central: [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Betty J. Darst on November 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Candace Fleming brings new insights and a depth of research to create in a beautiful scrapbook design the extraordinary story of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. The books brings to life their story with the benefit of primary resources. Rare photos and illustrations leap out from the pages. It will appeal to all ages and join Our Eleanor in my collection. This book will make a treasured gift as well as a meaningful addition to the Lincoln story. An outstanding book for the Lincoln 200th Anniversary and beyond. This is a well written
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More About the Author

I have always been a storyteller. Even before I could write my name, I could tell a good tale. And I told them all the time. As a preschooler, I told my neighbors all about my three-legged cat named Spot. In kindergarten, I told my classmates about the ghost that lived in my attic. And in first grade I told my teacher, Miss Harbart, all about my family's trip to Paris, France.

I told such a good story that people always thought I was telling the truth. But I wasn't. I didn't have a three-legged cat or a ghost in my attic, and I'd certainly never been to Paris, France. I simply enjoyed telling a good story... and seeing my listener's reaction.

Sure, some people might have said I was a seven-year old fibber. But not my parents. Instead of calling my stories "fibs" they called them "imaginative." They encouraged me to put my stories down on paper. I did. And amazingly, once I began writing, I couldn't stop. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, poems, plays. I still have many of those notebooks. They're precious to me because they are a record of my writing life from elementary school on.

In second grade, I discovered a passion for language. I can still remember the day my teacher, Miss Johnson, held up a horn-shaped basket filled with papier-mache pumpkins and asked the class to repeat the word "cornucopia." I said it again and again, tasted the word on my lips. I tested it on my ears. That afternoon, I skipped all the way home from school chanting, "Cornucopia! Cornucopia!" From then on, I really began listening to words--to the sounds they made, and the way they were used, and how they made me feel. I longed to put them together in ways that were beautiful, and yet told a story.

As I grew, I continued to write stories. But I never really thought of becoming an author. Instead, I went to college where I discovered yet another passion--history. I didn't realize it then, but studying history is really just an extension of my love of stories. After all, some of the best stories are true ones -- tales of heroism and villainy made more incredible by the fact they really happened.

After graduation, I got married and had children. I read to them a lot, and that's when I discovered the joy and music of children's books. I simply couldn't get enough of them. With my two sons in tow, I made endless trips to the library. I read stacks of books. I found myself begging, "Just one more, pleeeeease!" while my boys begged for lights-out and sleep. Then it struck me. Why not write children's books? It seemed the perfect way to combine all the things I loved: stories, musical language, history, and reading. I couldn't wait to get started.

But writing children's books is harder than it looks. For three years I wrote story after story. I sent them to publisher after publisher. And I received rejection letter after rejection letter. Still, I didn't give up. I kept trying until finally one of my stories was pulled from the slush pile and turned into a book. My career as a children's author had begun.

For more information visit my website: www.candacefleming.com.

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The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary
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