Monday, October 27, 2008

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary

Happy Nonfiction Monday! Here is the first of many reviews of Cybils nominees in the Nonfiction Middle Grade/Young Adult category.

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary by Candace Fleming

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.

More Info:
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375836187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375836183
  • Source: Review copy from publisher

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