Prather’s Pick: A book about Abe Lincoln
It’s amazing that writers are able to find creative ways to keep historical writing fresh and appealing, even after countless books have been written about it. Take this week’s true story about Abraham Lincoln, for example. Author Shari Swanson has chosen to write about his compassion for animals, beginning when Abe was a child but continuing into adulthood.
“Honey, The Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln” was written by Swanson and beautifully-illustrated by Chuck Groenink. It is a new picture book for children, ages 4-8, published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers (2020). The book was a finalist for a Katherine Paterson Prize.
The book’s story begins as young Abraham Lincoln is headed for the mill, a daily chore but, as usual, he is distracted by what’s going on around him. Abe has just rescued a frog from a snake’s mouth. Sometimes he even saves animals from traps that his father has set, to his father’s dismay. So the miller isn’t surprised that Abe is late in picking up his corn, and Abe’s mother is used to him getting home late.
One day Abe hears a whimpering noise at the base of a cliff. He finds a dog with a broken leg. Abe has been around farm animals his entire life so he knows how to splint the leg. The dog follows Abe home, and Abe begs his mother to let him keep the dog. He says he’s a “honey” of a dog. The dog, named Honey, becomes Abe’s constant companion, and one day the dog saves Abe’s life.
At the back of the book, the reader finds a “Timeline of Abraham Lincoln and His Animal Encounters” that highlights not only Abe’s adventures with animals but important events in his life. The Timeline covers Abe’s time in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Washington D.C. The reader will learn more about Abe’s time with Honey and even one time (in 1863) that President Lincoln pardoned a turkey after his son Tad’s pleas. (Could that have been the beginning of the turkey- pardoning at the White House?)
There’s even an “Author’s Note” on the last page of the book that provides more information about Lincoln’s compassion for animals. This book is a “must read.”
ou can find this week’s book in the children’s room at the Craig Moffat County Library. You can purchase the hardcover book for $17.99.
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