Reviews for My Brother Abe : Sally Lincoln's Story

Booklist Reviews 2009 January #1
Starting with few known facts, Mazer has imagined the growing up of Sarah "Sally" Lincoln from the ages of 5 to 13. Sally describes, in a sometimes uneven, rustic dialect, her family s experiences of traveling from Kentucky to a hardscrabble but loving life in Indiana. After her mother dies, Sally takes responsibility for running the home until her father brings a new wife and her children home to their log cabin. Of course, there through it all is her younger brother, Abraham. Look elsewhere for his story, though; the narrative gives little insight into his experiences or development of the future chief executive. Sally, though, is a smart, strong, and sassy character, and although this title will probably be linked with other titles about President Lincoln, it is most successful as a congenial story of a headstrong young lady s life in the wilderness of early nineteenth-century America.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
Mazer imagines the personality and experiences of Sally Lincoln, beloved older sister of our sixteenth president. The story describes the Lincoln family's life in Indiana during the times just before and after the death of Abe and Sally's mother. This readable novel will expand readers' sense of pioneer history as well as the life of young Abe Lincoln. Glos. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 November #2
Well timed to catch the wave of interest that's likely to rise for the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, this historical tale zeroes in on the personalities of ten-year-old Abe, his mother Nancy and his father Thomas--all as seen through the eyes of his sister Sally, two years his senior. Sally takes center stage as, struggling to find accommodation between her intelligent, headstrong nature and her desire to be as disciplined, loving and industrious as her beloved mother, she recounts her family's hard trek from Kentucky to the Indiana wilderness, the devastating death of her mother and her slow acceptance of the kindly widow who becomes her stepmother. Mazer is a little hazy on the exact nature of women's work in this place and time, but he sticks to the (skimpy) historical record for people and events, provides some searching insight into young Abe's character and endows Sally with a strong, distinctive narrative voice. (Historical fiction. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 January #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.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 February

Gr 4-7--Mazer has based this story broadly on known facts of the Lincolns' childhood. Crossing the Ohio River into what would become Indiana after being forced off their land in Kentucky, living in a half-faced shelter over one winter, and losing their mother become immediate and poignant when seen through Sally's eyes. While her brother is quick to accept their new stepmother, Sally is not so easily won over, and her feelings and fear of betraying her mother's memory are understandable. Abraham's difficulties with his father, his reluctance to kill animals, the hard work of homesteading, and his longing for education are depicted. Through such vivid details, Mazer offers an engaging and believable tale of survival.--Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library

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