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For President’s Day Read About Abraham Lincoln Pro Wrestler by Steve Sheinkin

ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRO WRESTLER
TIME TWISTERS BOOK ONE
Written by Steve Sheinkin
Illustrated by Neil Swaab
(Roaring Brook Press; $13.99, Ages 7-10)

 

Abraham Lincoln Pro Wrestler Time Twisters Book One cover illustration

 

 

Don’t let the title, Abraham Lincoln Pro Wrestler, convince you that this totally entertaining and educational read is comprised of our 16th president traipsing around in a wrestling singlet. It is actually the first in a clever fiction chapter book series that features lots of laugh out load moments that kept me turning the pages to see how the two main characters, step-siblings Abby and Doc, would pull off some whimsical time travel twists that bring Abraham Lincoln’s presidency to life but could also change the course of history.

The story unfolds with the kids in Ms. Maybee’s history class being instructed to read aloud from their textbook section about Honest Abe. When the teacher tries to get her students involved, the general reaction is a resounding “BORING!” It turns out, though, that their disinterest has negatively impacted historical figures including Lincoln. Because of that, when Ms. Maybee’s class attempts to read about America’s influential president and his profound impact on our country’s history, the students can only find references to Abraham Lincoln essentially doing zilch—”sitting in a chair, reading or heading off to the outhouse.”

In an interesting scene that sets the stage for all the story’s zany action, Lincoln travels to the present to offer words of caution. “Saying I’m boring, groaning in agony when it comes time to read about history. As I said, today was just a warning. If you do it again—well, you’ll see.” The next attempt to study the 16th president also fails, but instead of Lincoln returning to the library storage room to warn Abby and Doc, Doc disappears into the same box (portal) that brought Lincoln to the present from 1860 Illinois. Abby follows and the two wind up outside of Lincoln’s house. There they meet Lincoln and his wife, Mary who tells them the election is tomorrow. With her husband no longer caring, Mary and the kids are worried. “Then we’re doomed! … The country will break apart! Everything we have worked for—all thrown away!” The kids feel awful, certain they’ve screwed with fate, especially after their dad, Mr. Douglass, also a teacher, impresses upon the two how important history is. “But knowing history makes you smarter, helps you understand the world better. Mostly, it’s just fun.”

The problem is Doc and Abby now need to get Abraham Lincoln engaged again while also getting their classmates to realize how much history matters. This may not be easy. When Lincoln hears about a school fundraiser, a pro wrestling match scheduled for that evening, he’d much rather quit the past and attend the big event. He just happens to be in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame! At the same time, Doc has time travelled back to election day with the gym teacher, Mr. Biddle, who earlier dressed as Honest Abe (a term he despised) for a special surprise presentation at school. His goal: get the real Lincoln concerned enough to step back into his rightful place and accept the presidency. I especially liked this part because of all the facts about Lincoln that Sheinkin shares and how the two Abes get up to all sorts of shenanigans along with Abby and Doc. There’s so much humor infused into this history lesson that readers will not even realize how much fun they’re having learning about a time when our country was so “bitterly divided, mainly over the issue of slavery.” Kids will breeze through the eighteen chapters and will be delighted to learn there are more books available already in this pleasing series. The cartoon-like illustrations by Swaab add to the silliness as well as offer an easy way into absorbing history for the more reluctant readers.

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

 

Click here for Reading Guide for Teachers

Start reading the story here.

 

 

 

 

Read more about Abraham Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words.

Of Thee I Sing

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters, written by Barack Obama and illustrated by Loren Long is reviewed by Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City. Stop by and see her when you’re next in the Valley.

1It is time to put politics aside.  Democrats, Republicans, Independents, anyone who has children will, should adore this incredibly beautifully written and illustrated book.  Helping a child to have self worth as they journey through life is one of the hardest jobs a parent has.  In Of Thee I Sing, President Obama reinforces all the positive qualities of his daughters, as he asks them and, in fact, all the children of this country…  “Have I told you that you are smart?”  “Have I told you that you are kind?”  “Have I told you that you are creative?”

To illustrate the answers to those and other questions, he tells of Americans who have inspired generation after generation. 

“Have I told you that you are strong?  A woman named Helen Keller fought her way through long, silent darkness.  Though she could not see or hear, she taught us to look at and listen to each other.  Never waiting for life to get easier, she gave others courage to face their challenges.”

part-of-a-family_240bHe tells his daughters that what makes this country strong and great is because it is made up of…

“People of all races, religions and beliefs… sharing their unique gifts and giving us the courage to lift one another up, to keep up the fight, to work and build upon all that is good in our nation.” 

So listen, children, listen.

I strongly believe this special book and its message should be passed down from our children to their children, to their children.  It tells of those who have come before us that made this country a better place and by our own actions and our children’s, we should never stop trying to do the same.  Of Thee I Sing is a gift for the ages.

lindymichaelspic2The very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Studio City Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Two Engaging New Activity Books From Chicago Review Press

9781556529559Theodore Roosevelt, Brains, Brawn and a Love of Nature

Reading Theodore Roosevelt for Kids: His Life and Times by Kerrie Logan Hollihan made me realize that there is so much I do not know about the fascinating lives of our past presidents, including this 26th President of the U.S. Did you know that both Roosevelt’s wife, Alice, and his mother died on the very same day in 1884? Or that his oldest child, Alice, named after her mother, was a wild and outspoken woman, who carried a green snake in her purse named after her stepmother’s skinny sister?

Born in 1858 to a wealthy family in New York, as a young boy, Roosevelt was called “Teddie” by his parents (and later “Teddy” by all). Young Teddie was a sickly, asthmatic child, but that did not stop him from seeking knowledge about the world. He was fascinated by nature and read voraciously about a variety of subjects that interested him. He hunted, collected birds, insects and fish and studied them in detail. Due to the family’s wealth, the Roosevelts traveled a great deal, and by the time Roosevelt attended college he had been to Europe twice as well as the Middle East.

Readers of this book will discover much more about his fascinating, adventurous personal life and how Roosevelt often voiced his political opinions while attending Harvard, leading to his long political career. He was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1881, served as Republican Vice President to William McKinley in 1900 and took over office as President (as the youngest to ever hold office at age 42) when McKinley was assassinated in 1901. President Roosevelt was loved for his great balance of understanding between big business and ordinary working class people. He believed people should be judged individually and not classified by popular opinion. His role in helping put an end to the Russo-Japanese war earned him a Nobel Prize for Peace. Today Teddy Roosevelt is remembered for his adventure travel, love of nature and his laws to preserve our nation’s natural wonders; he worked hard to protect our forests and established the U.S. National Park Service.

Kids will not only learn fascinating facts about Roosevelt but can also participate in 21 fun activities, such as drawing out Roosevelt’s many travels on a world map, stargazing by seasons and making a campaign button. There are resources in the back of the book to guide curious readers to more information.

9781569762806Native Americans, Culture, Conflicts and Treaties

Did you know that there are 562 different American Indian Tribes? Or that the true story of Pocahontas and John Smith is that Pocahontas was a young child when she met the much older John Smith, and there was never a romance between them? You’ll discover these facts and many more when you read   Native American History for Kids by Karen Bush Gibson.

There is a great deal of essential information about American Indians packed into this book including theories on how Indians arrived on the North American Continent, what life was like when European settlers came to America, wars and peace treaties, the destruction of many reservations at the end of the 19th Century, and modern lifestyles for Native Americans.

I love the offset copy in the book that features famous Native Americans like Jim Thorpe, one of the best athletes in U.S .history, who faced many hardships, and famous English settlers like Mary Musgrove Matthews Bosomworth, an interpreter who was instrumental in encouraging peace between Indians and settlers in the 1730s.

Kids who read this book will not only get insight into the lives of Native Americans but will also get important lessons on many different milestones in American history, such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Civil War and much more. Plus there are 21 activities; how to make Arapaho Fry Bread; creating a Three-Sisters Garden; making a totem pole; and even how to decipher a Navajo code. There’s a glossary of important terms and a detailed index at the back of the book. Everyone in the family should read this and talk about what they’ve learned together!

What I like about the Chicago Review Press biographical/history books for kids is that they are straight-forward, comprehensive, informative and never patronizing to young readers. Even though they are written for children, they are always a great read for adults too. They encourage you think, inspire you to do great things and leave you yearning to research more about the subject.

debbiegladeDebbie Glade, today’s guest reviewer, is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for WanderingEducators.com. She blogs daily at smartpoodlepublishing.com.

Let’s Celebrate Independence Day! In 1776 by Jean Marzollo

IN 1776
Written by Jean Marzollo
Illustrated by Steve Björkman
(Scholastic; $ paperback prices vary, Ages 7-10)

 

 

In 1776, by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by Steve Björkman, while first published in 1994 by Scholastic, is still relevant today as we look forward to July 4th in 2017.

This paperback, part of the Scholastic Bookcase series, is a great book to bring out this holiday before all the BBQs and fireworks get started so youngsters can understand just exactly what it is we are celebrating. Told in easy to understand rhyme, “The colonists were angry, because they had no say, when the British king gave orders, three thousand miles away.” Kids will learn in simple language how, as colonists of Great Britain, Americans refused to be burdened with more taxes levied by King George III without representation. When the British marched on Lexington and Concord, fighting broke out. Soon the seeds of independence were sown, “So their leaders met in Philly, in June and in July. They picked some men to tell the king, “We must be free – here’s why!” The American Revolution or the War of Independence was bravely fought under the guidance of its leader, General George Washington and the rest as we say, is history.

“On the Fourth of July, in seventy-six, after a long and heated morn, The Declaration was approved, and the U.S.A. was born.”

Happy 4th of July everyone! 🇺🇸

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

Our 44th President

barack-obamaBarack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope – by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, $16.99, ages 5-10). Barry, as he was once known, always had hope. President Obama’s life story is recounted by a single mother whose hopes for her young son David are the same as any mother’s. We learn about Obama’s journey from Hawaii to Indonesia to Kenya, from New York to Chicago and ultimately Washington, D.C., meet his blended family and all the inspirational individuals he met along the way, and see how his path was molded from a very early age. Share this book with your children or let them enjoy it on their own. The artwork is thoughtful and the text simple, yet substantial. There are more reviews about American Presidents in our exclusive web only Presidents Day and Black History Month book roundup.

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