Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Review - My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln

About the Book

History buff Robert Bloch has given children whole new perspective on the early life of one of America’s best known Presidents.  

My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln, looks at the early life of Abraham Lincoln (11-14 years old, 1820-1823) through the eyes of a fictional best friend, as he grows up in southwestern Indiana and changes from a young country boy with pants always too short to the sixteenth President of the United States!

The two boys share a love for the outdoors and adventure.  They attend a “blab school,” where a dozen children aged six to twelve repeat their lessons aloud until they have memorized them by heart—a practice that makes for a noisy classroom.

Sam is fond of Abe, who is tall and skinny and grows so fast that his pants always seem to be too short. He admires his friend’s amazing memory for new words and thoughts, saying he was “…just about as smart as our teacher.”

Bloch said “The story shows how if one puts their mind to working hard and treating people fairly and honestly, you can become anything you want to become in life—friendships and relationships are a very important factor.”

His inspiration for the book came in part from a family legacy. His great-great-grandfather, Jonas Wollman, a distinguished abolitionist who was one of fifty two Leavenworth, Kansas merchants and business people, who signed a letter asking Mr. Lincoln to come and visit Leavenworth, Kansas.  Leavenworth became the site of Lincoln’s first campaign speech in December 1859.

This heart-warming story of two childhood friends and growing up will capture both your interest and imagination. This beautifully done book is colorfully illustrated by former Walt Disney Studios animation artist, John Ewing who is known for working on many Disney films including Winnie the Pooh and Jungle Book.

My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln
A Tale of Two Boys From Indiana
Robert L. Bloch
Illustrated by John W. Ewing

About the Author

Robert L. Bloch has worked at the H&R Block Foundation since 1989. His passions are Art History and American History. Bob graduated from Menlo College in Menlo Park, California, (1974) and the University of Missouri at Kansas City (1979).

He lives in Mission Hills, Kansas, and has four sons and a wonderful wife.

About the Illustrator

John Ewing attended Chouinard Art School in Los Angeles before joining the team at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. In his eleven years there, he worked on many projects, including Winnie the Pooh and The Jungle Book. In addition to John's illustration work with Dragonpencil, he is also an art professor and an avid flight enthusiast.
My Take on the Book

To preface my review of this book,  I would like to share with you a comment  the author made about his story at the beginning of the book. Sam Harding is a fictional character. Parts of the story are based on true historical events, while others are from the imagination of the author.

Having read many books about Abraham Lincoln's life, it was evident that the author had researched his topic. The facts he used within the story illustrated Abe's life as a child and how he loved to learn and read. Robert showed Abe's relationship to his family, especially the love he had for his stepmother who encouraged him to learn.Robert shared Abe's anger with slavery which would influence the debates he had and his presidency.

Sam Harding, Abe's fictional friend, gave the reader background on life in rural American, in the 1800's. Sam described life living on a farm, going to a one room school house , and the hardships and pleasures of the era.

The illustrations work beautifully with the text. The illustrator portrayed the emotions of the characters through facial expressions that would easily be interpreted by a child listening or reading the story.

I would recommend this as a good read aloud book for parents, grandparents,  etc. Children who are independent readers will  enjoy the flow and language of the story.

I feel it is extremely important that children learn about those individuals in the history or present time who have fought to make the United States the great nation that it is today. Abraham Lincoln was one of those individuals who gave his life for the principles he believed in and which changed our country forever.

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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