Authors: Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon
Illustrator: David Wenzel
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-0 – 689870248

What if Abraham Lincoln quit and never issued the Emancipation Proclamation?” Mr. Caruthers asked his third grade class in Blast to the Past #1 Lincoln’s Legacy, a children’s book written by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon.

With one hundred and four pages, this paperback book is targeted toward ages seven to ten years old, has no profanity and no questionable or scary scenes. Illustrator David Wenzel provides a colorful drawing of Abraham Lincoln being restrained by four children on the front cover. The back cover has two paragraphs about the book and a drawing of Lincoln tipping his hat. Inside there are ten black and white drawings along with a photograph of the well-known painting by F.B. Carpenter. Also included at the end of the book are an explanation by the authors of fact verses fiction, President Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” and “Gettysburg Address” and four sample pages of the next book in the series about Walt Disney.

The main object of this series is to ask young children what if a person in the past did not create, state, make or invent something that changed our lives today but quit instead. This book hones in on our President Abraham Lincoln’s speech that freed Southern slaves during the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation.

Told in first person through Abigail, a curious third grader, she is asked by her teacher to stay after class, thinking it was because she was not paying attention. With twins Zack, athletic but a quitter, and Jacob, a computer whiz, and new student and avid reader, Bo, the four students are given a special time-travel computer by Mr. Caruthers. Mr. C challenges them to go back in time and try to convince Lincoln to not quit his presidency but free the slaves. The students go back in time but initially fail their task until they transport Lincoln to a more current time period and show him the progress made from his famous speech. Lincoln finally listens to the children and gives the speech back in 1862, setting the civil rights movement into motion.

In addition to educating children about Lincoln’s legacy, this book does an exceptional job of teaching and informing our kids in an enthusiastic way about the past’s muddy streets of Washington, the swampy-smelling White House (then called the President’s Palace), and Lincoln’s persnickety cabinet. Both authors should be thoroughly commended for explaining American history in a charming, fun yet scholastic way. It is so refreshing to see such an instructive, informative book for school-aged students.

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