Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom by Janet & Geoff Benge

Cuddle Bug and I have been reading a lot about Civil War times.  She’s picked clean all the kids’ books about the Underground Railroad from the library, and we’ve read about the time frame of the Civil War.  Even she was a bit apprehensive when we picked this book because she said, “I already know about Abraham Lincoln.”

But, we both discovered there was a lot we didn’t know about Abraham Lincoln’s life because he had a full, rich life long before he became president.  We both ended up really enjoying Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom by Janet & Geoff Benge.

Probably the first surprise for me came early in the book.  When he was just nine years old, Lincoln’s mother, aunt and uncle all succumbed to “milk poisoning.”  I did my own research after reading that chapter and discovered that milk poisoning was something that happened in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois in the early to mid-1800s.  The area was heavily wooded, and as people moved there, they cleared the land.  However, there wasn’t always enough clear land for the cows to graze, so they would sometimes graze in the woods where they would eat a particular plant that was poisonous to the cows.  The cows wouldn’t show symptoms right away, so people would continue to drink the cow’s milk, not knowing they were drinking poisoned milk.  The cow would show symptoms by shaking all over, but by then it was too late.  Whoever had drank the cows milk before it showed symptoms would likely die.  Yikes!  I would have given up milk.  Eventually, as more land was cleared, this stopped happening.

Another thing that interested me in this book is what an adventurous and industrious man young Lincoln was.  I never thought of Lincoln as particularly adventurous, but he sailed down the Mississippi several times, and he wasn’t afraid of a fight.

He only had three months of formal education, but he was a voracious reader and became a lawyer after studying for just a few months.

This book is approximately 220 pages long, but only the last 1/4 deals with Lincoln’s presidency and his involvement in the Civil War.  I enjoyed that this time didn’t dominate the book.  It was nice to see what Lincoln was like before his stressful presidency.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

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