Abe Lincoln is one of those historical figures who looms larger than life. We read and learn all about his wisdom and his leadership and his wit but when you think about this great man it's a bit difficult to imagine him as a boy. Perhaps a seven year old boy? Did he have friends and do the kinds of things regular old boys do? Deborah Hopkinson spins a tale of Abe and his best friend, Austin. As the story goes, one day Abe and Austin went chasing after some partridges. The partridges were on the other side of a very swollen, fast-moving river and the best way to cross the river as far as the boys could tell was to make their way across a log. This was a pretty dangerous route because if they fell into the water, they would be in serious danger.
The partnership of artist and author becomes an even louder voice than usual in a picture book as Deborah Hopkinson talks to her illustrator and we watch as his talented hand creates the visual scenarios of her story. In our collective imagination would Abe have crawled out the log? " HOLD ON ONE MINUTE! " Then, suddenly Abe finds himself slipping and the worse possible end to the story looks real. Abe is in that river and his head keeps disappearing under the water. What will Austin do? This is the kind of heroic moment that T.A. Barron talks about in his book, Heroes Trail. This is a hero who seems to be an average, ordinary guy. A good friend. But when Abe needs someone to save his life, Austin is equal to the task. Then, we leave it up to the illustrator, John, to decide how to paint the picture of this historical moment. No one really knows for sure what happened. What we do know is that "in the middle of the Civil War, Abe will be heard to say he'd rather see Austin Gollaher again than any other living man." That's quite a testimonial from this great man, Abe Lincoln. And this is just the kind of entertaining tale that Abe himself might have spun. 40 page