Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Abe Lincoln's Hat

Abe Lincoln's Hat,
Written by Martha Brenner,
Illustrated by Donald Cook
"A book which is well and thoughtfully illustrated provides a richer experience for a child by supporting the words of the printed text with concrete images which communicate action, express emotion, and satisfy a child's need to engage his / her senses. With love and magic, an illustration transforms a story into a living, tangible world which a child can explore and revisit as often as he or she wishes."
- Donald Cook, artist/educator

interior art by Donald Cook

Abe Lincoln's Hat is a chapter book written by Martha Brenner and illustrated by Donald Cook.

Abe Lincoln's Hat was published by Random House in 1994 as part of their Step Into Reading program.  This book is a Step 3, which means it is recommended for readers in grades first through third who are just beginning to read on their own.  The sentences are very simple, though some of the vocabulary is more challenging.  It reads like a reader, rather than a chapter book story.  This book uses the detail of Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat to relate important events in his career.  I like the way the author introduced lesser known elements from his life and focuses on his time as a lawyer.  This book appeals to my author side because it is these kinds of unusual details that are able to get a manuscript out of the slush pile.  The illustrations by Donald Cook are very appropriate to this book.  He has skill in varying the layout and point of view to give interest to the subject matter.  Cook's soft pencil-and-wash art lends a vintage air.

From Abe Lincoln's Hat, courtesy Donald Cook

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