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Abe's Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham…

Abe's Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln

by Jen Bryant

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Interesting little story. I don't know if it's based on any truth, but young Abe Lincoln goes fishing, and on his way home with dinner, he runs into a solider. Out of the kindness of his heart, Abe gives the hungry solider his family's dinner, knowing his family will be proud of him. This tale talks a lot about freedom, and foreshadows Abe's own future with freedom as president. It is a nice story, and I could see it possibly happening in Lincoln's lifetime. ( )
  lavenderagate | Aug 26, 2011 |
President Lincoln as a boy. Introduce this book in Febuary at Lincoln's birthday.
  LyndsayE82 | Jul 30, 2010 |
"Nothing but this. I had been fishing one day and caught a little fish which I was taking home. I met a soldier in the road, and, having been always told at home that we must be good to the soldiers, I gave him my fish'" --Abraham Lincoln: A History V. 1

This is Abraham Lincoln's reply when asked about his memories regarding the war of 1812, and the basis for a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that imagines a day in the life of Abe Lincoln as a child. As a parent planning to homeschool this fall I am always looking for books, fiction and non-fiction, that will bring our subjects to life while also allowing opportunity for learning. This book completely fits the bill.

The story imagines young Abe wanting very much to be more grown up and help his father work the land. When he is unable lift his father's ax his mother suggests he fish to catch something for dinner. They are a poor family and have been living on turnip soup and berries, rarely having full bellies. Abe catches his fish, but while walking home meets a bedraggled and hungry soldier. Abe remembers what his mother has taught him - to be good to soldiers because they are fighting for freedom. Abe doesn't really know what freedom is, but with his mother's words in mind he wrestles with the decision to give his prize fish to the soldier or keep it for his hungry family.

The watercolor illustrations are nicely done in earth tones with plenty of detail to draw in little eyes. The story is lovely and accessible even to young children. For older children it provides a starting point for learning about Abraham Lincoln, but also concepts such as freedom, empathy and caring for others, making difficult or unpopular decisions and more. It offers a brief look into early pioneer life and could be used as a supplement for study of that era. After the story the author has included a few pages describing Lincoln's early life, the members of his family, what school would have been like for a pioneering family as well as a nice bibliography and internet links to to get you started exploring.

While this book is listed as appropriate for ages 9-12 I found that my 4 year old enjoyed the book very much, asking to read it several times while we had it. I really enjoyed reading this book to my kids and have it on my list to read again when we are studying Lincoln in the future. ( )
  Hampchick | May 13, 2010 |
This is a beautifully illustrated book that focuses on Abraham Lincoln's childhood. The author portrays young Abe as a thoughtful child who wants to be of help to his family, but who at only 6 years of age, is too small to do the big important chores.

When he finally does find a task that he can excel at --fishing!-- he gives up his prize selflessly (and consequently any praise he would have gained) to aid another.

The watercolors in this book are charming. And I like that there is more than one ethical stance that is discussed and highlighted. We have Abe's seeking to be responsible, his self-sacrifice, and earnest interest in education. As well, the author introduces the War of 1812 and the following Civil War.

In a very nice section at the end of the book, the author answers the question of how children of the early 1800's entertained themselves; as well as why the soldier that Abe met was fighting. A bibliography follows.

I think this would be a good book to use in conjunction with a unit about this fascinating president. It should be noted however that the book is not a particularly good read-a-loud.

Pam T
mom and reviewer at BooksforKids-reviews.com ( )
  PamFamilyLibrary | Feb 11, 2009 |
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Young Abe Lincoln learns the meaning of selflessness and freedom when he encounters a soldier on a country road and gives up his prized possession: a fish he caught for the family's evening meal. Includes author's note on the early life of the sixteenth president.… (more)

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