Imogene’s Last Stand (Candace Fleming & Nancy Carpenter)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming & Nancy Carpenter, a delightful tale of a courageous little girl with a passion for US history.

Imogene has loved history from her first words – literally (they were, “Four score and seven years ago”). At school, she gives a show-and-tell lecture series on important women in history. But now, her mission is to breathe new life into the Liddleville Historical Society, a crumbling house full of all her town’s history. She and her father work tirelessly to restore every inch, but when they are finished, no one comes to visit. The next day, a sign is placed in the front yard: the house is to be torn down to build a shoelace factory. Imogene is not about to watch history be demolished without a fight, and sets to work – but how can one girl save the history of an entire town?

We LOVED this. Smart, confident and brave female protagonist? Check. Imogene is the type of character we live for, a historical figure-quoting, independent and ingenious firebrand who fights for what she believes is important, not only for herself but for everyone’s benefit. A meaningful story about knowing, understanding, and learning from our past? Check. In fact, the solution to the conflict is found in history, showing how our past can often inform our present problems. There’s even some adorable father-daughter moments between Imogene and her dad, and a wonderful, subtle girl-power-in-politics moment at the end. The pen-and-ink illustrations are perfect for giving both whimsy and gravitas to Imogene’s tale in equal measure, and the length is perfect. Backmatter even gives context for Imogene’s quotes. An awesome read for any young student of history, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Where’s Your Hat, Abe Lincoln? (Misti Kenison)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Where’s Your Hat, Abe Lincoln? by Misti Kenison, a board book that introduces notable Civil War-era figures to the smallest bookworms.

Abe Lincoln has lost his hat! He has a very important speech coming up, and he can’t do it without his trusty stovepipe hat. He asks some of his friends to help him look, but they are all very busy: Frederick Douglass is writing a book, Clara Barton is nursing soldiers. Sojourner Truth giving a speech herself, and Thaddeus Stevens is addressing congress. Will Abe find his hat in time to give his speech, and will his friends be there?

Very interesting! Forgiving some anachronistic meetings and timelines – this is a book meant for toddlers, after all, and a more accurate timeline is included in the back – this was a clever way to introduce some big and important names from history to very young readers. The main ideas are extremely simplified, which is occasionally strange (the Gettysburg Address, for instance, was in fact a pretty solemn speech about a gruesome battle and tragic loss of life, which doesn’t quite read here), but mostly does what it intends by introducing names like Harriet Tubman, William Seward, Ulysses S. Grant and so on to little ones. The illustrations are rudimentary, but offer easily visible block colors and simple faces, which can be good for developing visual skills. The length is fine, and JJ seemed mostly to enjoy it. If you’re looking for ways to introduce new topics like American history to your toddler’s library, this could be a fun one. Overall, Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)