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American History, The Presidency, Leadership and Responsibility, Historic Figures
Abraham Lincoln — America's 16th president and perhaps its most famous one — is painted here as an irrepressibly appealing character: a struggling and somewhat disorganized lawyer who makes his way through the world with goodwill and good sense. As well, Lincoln always had a joke up his sleeve. But to enhance his professional image, Lincoln wore a long black coat and a tall stovepipe hat, and the book begins with the purchase of the hat.
Through a collection of amusing anecdotes, author Brenner reveals the real reason Lincoln's hat was such an all-important item. For example, as a young lawyer, Abe Lincoln found that his stovepipe hat came in handy as a good place to keep important papers. Later, a group of boys rigged up a high wire and knocked it off his head, scattering the papers. But the anecdotes here are not all about his famous hat. Stories from the courtroom include Lincoln proving which man owned a young horse by letting the colt loose to go to its mother, and his defense of a slave's right to be granted freedom in the free state of Illinois.
In contrast to the reverent tone of most children's books on Lincoln, this short biography actually humanizes him. Although Brenner includes no source notes, she asserts that all the stories she relates are true. Lively watercolor illustrations highlight the informative text. Abe Lincoln's Hat is a popular title in the "Step into Reading Books" series for children in the early grades.