Blast to the Past #1: Lincoln’s Legacy

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This book introduces a new time-travel series for children. My six-year-old son, nine-year-old daughter, and I all say “hooray!” The premise is uncomplicated and lends itself well to serialization. Third-grader Abigail’s favorite teacher arrives late and disheveled every Monday morning and begins class with a “What-if?” history question. Usually the students are in for a lively discussion and a fun learning experience. But this Monday, there is something more. Mr. Caruthers poses the question: What if Abraham Lincoln quit and never signed the Emancipation Proclamation? When Abigail cannot come up with an answer, she (along with a few friends) is invited to the teacher’s office after school. She’s not in trouble—at least, no more than the rest of the country. It seems the question was not hypothetical. Mr. Caruthers quickly explains he needs their help convincing President Lincoln not to quit—for real! He provides them with a hand-held time-travel computer and two hours to accomplish the task.

The children are likable if a bit stereotyped. The teaching points are age-appropriate even if the presentation of some of the facts was a bit dry. My kids pronounced the book a winner and are looking forward to the next book in the series. (Ages 9-12)

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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award






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