Thursday, August 12, 2010

New and Noteworthy: Children's Book on 8th Wisconsin and Mascot

Old Abe, Eagle Hero, Patrick Young, illustrated by Anne Lee, Kane Miller Publisher, Ages 5-9, 48 Pages, jacketed hardcover,$15.99.

A bald eagle that inspired the nation during the darkest days of the American Civil War is the subject of a dramatic picture book for young children. Old Abe, Eagle Hero: The Civil War’s Most Famous Mascot is the little-known story of an eagle that served as a Union mascot and was a veteran of twenty-five major battles. This “biography” of Old Abe gives kids a new point of view from which to experience the Civil War, a defining event in American history.

Captured as an eaglet and named in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, Old Abe braved bullets, shells, and cannon balls, his courage never flagging. He could shake hands with his soldier friends, drink from a canteen, and sound the alarm when a stranger was approaching. Newspapers dubbed him “The Eagle Hero,” and for people on the home front he took on an almost-mythic status as a symbol of the Union.

Readers ages 5-9 will be fascinated by the amazing bond between man and bird in this unearthed piece of Americana revised and updated for a new audience. Evocative, ink and watercolor illustrations and simple, straightforward text make Old Abe the perfect, accessible introduction to the Civil War. An endnote gives facts about Bald Eagles.

Author Patrick Young is the great-grandson of Capt. Victor Wolf, commander of Company C of the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, “the Eagle Company,” during much of the American Civil War, and he grew up hearing stories about Old Abe from his grandmother and mother. He is a science and medical writer whose articles have appeared in Smithsonian, Good Housekeeping, Parade, and Popular Science. His seven books include five for children and young adults. Illustrator Anne Lee grew up in Colorado, and now lives in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania, where she has been lucky enough to see Bald Eagles on the shores of the Allegheny River .

Text [with edits] and Image Souce: Kane Miller Publishing

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