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My Brother Abe: Sally Lincoln's Story

Harry Mazer, Author . Simon & Schuster $15.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4169-3884-2

Drawing on a limber imagination and knack for storytelling, Mazer (Boy at War ; Heroes Don't Run ) turns a few facts from Abraham Lincoln's childhood into a vivid historical novel. The title notwithstanding, the future president does not occupy center stage—Abe's older sister, Sally, about whom little is known, serves as the personable narrator and protagonist. Mazer conjures her as tomboyish and outspoken, a bit like Laura Ingalls but saddled with an authoritarian, fault-finding father. The dramas of frontier life quickly prove absorbing: shortly after the book opens, a land dispute forces the Lincolns to leave their Kentucky farm, and they settle in more isolated, primitive quarters in Indiana. Contemporary readers will easily relate to Sally, who can't understand why her patient, religious mother always agrees with “Mr. Lincoln” (as his wife addresses him), and whose grief over her mother's death makes her resent the essentially kind widow her father marries a year later. Fans of historical novels will savor the details evoked here. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/12/2009
Release date: 01/01/2009
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