Friday, April 3, 2009
REVIEW: Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek
Hopkinson, D. (2008). Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A tall, thin tale. New York: Schwarts & Wade Books.
Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek is about just that, Abe Lincoln crossing a dangerous creek with his first friend, Austin. This fun telling shows how one individual can influence history. And how you should always listen to your mother. Truth.
This is a meta-narrative, which in case you haven’t realized yet, such self-aware stories always makes me feel happy and fuzzy. But this book as the added benefit of also being aware of the illustrations and the illustrator’s influence on how the story is shared. Double fuzzy happiness!
What’s especially fun about his book (beyond my happy fuz) is that it acknowledges that the stories of history are constructed and allows for multiple versions. The illustrations do a great job in supporting this too.
Activities to do with the book:
Students can construct their own meta-narratives or tall tales in response to the story. Or because of the questions and insights made throughout the books, students could co-construct their own versions, with some focusing on the narrative and others on the illustrations.
This would also be a good book to create dramatizations in small groups, trying to figure out how to cross the river and save young Abe.
Also, students could do research on the pre-civil war era or on Lincoln’s biography. While this book could be shared as a class, other biographies could be used as homework.
“Now here’s an old tale of two boys who got themselves into more trouble than bear cubs in a candy store.”
“It happened on the other side of yesterday.”
“We could end our tale here, two happy friends in the sunshine long ago. But I expect you want to know what happens next.”
“What we do matters, even if we don’t end up in history books.”