cover image Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln

Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln

Jean Fritz. Grosset & Dunlap, $3.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-448-40170-6

The All Aboard Reading series adds another of Fritz's ( The Double Life of Pocahantas ; Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? ) lively titles illuminating an episode in American history. Here Fritz explains that President Lincoln had two ``big jobs'': he had to free the slaves and he had to win the Civil War. She focuses on the year 1863 when, after 23,000 Union soldiers were killed in the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln was asked to speak at a ceremony honoring the fallen troops. Dispelling traditional lore that the President scratched out his speech on the back of an envelope during the train ride to Gettysburg, Fritz explains that it was prepared in advance, needing only a last-minute ``lick.'' Making history tangible in a delightfully down-to-earth way, the author writes that Lincoln's address was very brief; after uttering a mere 271 words, ``he was finished. It took longer to boil an egg.'' Featuring typeface, vocabulary and themes carefully geared to her intended audience, the text informally yet ably conveys the significance of Lincoln's eloquent speech, which is reprinted on the book's final page. Interspersed among Robinson's subdued, well-populated drawings are several period photos. Ages 7-9. (Sept.)