The Flashback Four: The Lincoln Project
Written by Dan Gutman
Ages: 8 - 12
Grade level: 3 – 7
I loved this book so much I couldn’t wait till President’s Day to review it. AND, my blog this week is about visiting the Ohio Statehouse. Did you know that Lincoln was there 3 times?
I’m a fan of Dan Gutman’s Weird School series so this was a must-read. I thought it’d be good, but it wasn’t. It was great! Funny, but sophisticated. It’s the first book in his new series, and the next 2 are already out. The series starts like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with four kids receiving letters. They meet Chris Zandergoth, a computer genius who dreams of getting a picture of Lincoln making the Gettysburg address. None exists. Really! Chris preps the kids with Civil War clothes and phrases before sending them back in time. She chooses kids because they don’t get in trouble the way adults do. The story’s funny, but not wacky. The end pages tell you what’s not true, which is the opposite of most nonfiction. I like knowing Lincoln’s part in the story is true. Time travel, of course, isn’t. Dan summarizes the address writing, “Without saying it out loud, Lincoln was about to say to the the crowd- and to the nation- that America could have slavery or liberty, but not both. Having liberty doesn’t mean you have the liberty to enslave other people. Having freedom doesn’t mean you have the freedom to take away somebody else’s freedom.” It was a brilliant summation of The Gettysburg Address.
Test your Lincoln knowledge with these statements. True or false?
1. After the battle, you’d find unexploded shells in farmer’s fields.
2. The President’s son, Tad, went to Gettysburg.
3. Lincoln finished writing his speech there.
4. John Wilkes Boothe was in Gettysburg too.
5. Lincoln was the main speaker and was chosen to honor the battlefield and its soldiers.
6. Lincoln rode a horse, and his feet nearly touched the ground.
7. The Governor of Ohio was there to hear Lincoln speak.
True: 1, 3, 6, 7
False: 2. Tad was sick and stayed in DC. Mary wanted Abe to stay too. I’m glad he didn’t. 4. John wasn’t there either. 5. Edward Everett was the main speaker. He spoke for 2 hours, and no one remembers a word. Lincoln said everything in 2 minutes. His words are immortal!