Monday, March 9, 2009

Abe's Fish by Jen Bryant


As a homeschooling mom, I'm always on the lookout for books that will supplement our learning experience. My girls love biographies, so when I had the opportunity to review Abe's Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln by Jen Bryant, I jumped at it!

As I read Abe's Fish for myself before reading it to the kids, I discovered it to be a book that I greatly enjoyed. But, the true test of a children's book is not how much a mom or teacher enjoys it. The true test is how much the child enjoys and gleans from it. References to Abraham Lincoln's position as President and his role in the Civil War were a bit veiled, and I was curious to see whether or not the girls would pick up on the inferences in the story and illustrations.

When we snuggled down to read the book together, the girls were enthralled! They both loved to learn that Abe did the right thing, despite his own hunger or the teasing from his older sister. They were delighted when I read about young Abe learning about freedom, and they did, in fact, pick up on the references to how lessons in his young life prepared him for his adult role as President. The girls devoured the illustrations, taking in each detail, and greatly enjoying the pictorial foreshadowing of President Lincoln's adult life. They were also very excited about the historical commentary in the Author's Notes at the end of the book.

Although this is a fictional story built around a single statement made by President Lincoln, much rich history is worked into the storyline. The one thing I would say is that this book requires a prior understanding of who Abraham Lincoln was and what he accomplished during his presidency. If your little ones haven't quite learned about President Lincoln yet, I would encourage a bit of discussion about our sixteenth president before reading the book.

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