I have been meaning to read Honey, the Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln for awhile now. I had the reader copy and saw it in various places around the store once it came out a year ago. But it was not until a chance (or more actually blind) grab at a pile of reader copies in the page by the desk that it came out and the rule was, “Read what you grab.”
Shari Swanson bases her story of Abe Lincoln as a boy on sources that came directly from a friend of Lincoln’s from Kentucky (there is an afterwards that explains this and other facts about the man would be president). The story, while being about Lincoln could be about any young boy who liked animals or who was easily distracted by the wonders of the world around him (no matter how many times he had seen them). A chance meeting with an injured dog has Abe being late picking up the grain from the local mill. This is because Abe cares for the dog he will name Honey. A dog that played and went on all of Abe’s adventures. Including the one where Abe is trapped in a cave. An afterwards and timeline add to the historical aspects of the story.
Two great lines that come from this part of the story are “Grab your torches” and the fact the miller has to pull out Abe from the place he was stuck even though he had to leave “pieces of his hide behind.” While neither is necessarily pleasant, they are very descriptive and let you know what is going on without a lot of extra tacked on.
That kind of text and the illustrations of Chunk Groenink, together create a biographical fiction story. The details are plentiful, with colors not too bold or too soft. Everything is mixed to give you a classic feel. Perhaps, the story is a bit romanticized, but it is just a story of a boy and his dog regardless of who that boy grows up to be, and has a rescue story that would make Lassie proud!