Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith

As we wind down from the big election, check out Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith, a delightful little story about our nation’s past and future.

While on a field trip to the White House, a little girl named Quincy gets separated from her class. Wandering into the Lincoln Bedroom, she encounters a tall figure dressed in black, wearing his signature stovepipe hat. It’s the ghost of the sixteenth president! But he’s not scary, Quincy reflects. In fact, “he had a long face that made her feel sorry for him.”

Poor President Lincoln is haunted by a dream in which he is on a ship, lost on a perilous sea. He’s worried about the state of the union he left so suddenly. So Quincy takes him on a trip to show him how the nation’s doing today. And, because there are perks when you’re friends with a ghost, it’s a magical flying trip. Soon Mr. Lincoln sees that, while we’re still working on some things, “it’s getting better all the time.”

I loved the gentle humor of this book—Lincoln likes to crack jokes that aren’t very funny (but Quincy still laughs politely). And the illustrations, based on Civil War-era political cartoons, are unique and eye-catching. Lane Smith is known for the versatility of his artwork (he won a Caldecott Honor last year for Grandpa Green), and he delivers here once again.

Check out Lane Smith’s interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered” here.

Read on, readers!

—Miss Megan

Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith; Roaring Brook Press; 16.99; Ages 3-7

For Beginning Readers: Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst

We’ve had a lot of parents in the store looking for books for beginning readers, and we’ve got lots to choose from! One of our new favorites is Lulu and the Brontosaurus, which is perfect for the child who’s just getting into chapter books.

Lulu is a very little girl who happens to be a giant pain in the you-know-what. Whenever she hears the word “no,” she kicks and screams and howls until lightbulbs break! Generally, this results in little Lulu getting whatever she wants. However, when Lulu announces that she wants a brontosaurus for her birthday, her parents are firm. A brontosaurus would be simply too large to fit in the house! Lulu kicks and screams and howls and finally runs off into the woods to find a pet brontosaurus on her own. But when Lulu stumbles across the brontosaurus of her dreams, she’s in for a big surprise—he wants her for a pet! As Lulu tries to convince the dino to let her go home, she realizes that selfishness isn’t the best way to make friends. Gradually, our young heroine undergoes a change of heart, until she’s hardly a pain at all!

From Judith Viorst, beloved author (and DC resident!) of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, comes a hilarious tale of a sassy little girl who meets her match in the form of a giant prehistoric beast. Viorst’s writing is conversational, witty, quick-paced, and perfect for reading aloud. Lane Smith (Grandpa GreenPrincess Hyacinth, John, Paul, George & Ben) provides delightfully imaginative illustrations that make this a must-read!

Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst, illus. by Lane Smith; Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster); 6.99; Ages 6-9

Newberys, Caldecotts, and More!

This morning, the American Library Association announced the 2012 youth media awards winners. Like others in the book world, we were glued to twitter, commenting furiously as the results rolled in from Dallas. Our staff voted on our picks for both Caldecott and Newbery, so we were excited to find out how accurately we called it!

Newbery Medal: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos; Ages 10-12; Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan)

Newbery Honor: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai; Ages 8-10; HarperCollins; HFB pick

Newbery Honor: Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin; Ages 10-12; Henry Holt & Company (Macmillan)

Caldecott Medal:A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka; Ages 2-6; Schwartz & Wade Books (Random House); HFB pick

Caldecott Honor: Blackout by John Rocco; Ages 3-7; Hyperion Books (Random House); HFB pick

Caldecott Honor: Grandpa Green by Lane Smith; Ages 3-6; Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan); HFB pick

Caldecott Honor: Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell; Ages 3-7; Little, Brown (Hachette)

Printz Award: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley; Ages 14+; Atheneum Books (Simon & Schuster)

Printz Nominee: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler; Ages 14+; Little, Brown (Hachette)

Printz Nominee: The Returning by Christine Hinwood; Ages 14+; Dial Books (Penguin Putnam)

Printz Nominee: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater; Ages 14+; Scholastic Press

There they are, folks! Interested in getting your hands on any of these award winners? Give us a call and we’ll put titles on hold! 703-548-4092, or email info@hooray4books.com.

Our Caldecott Shortlist, Part 2

We’ve been sifting through new books all year, narrowing down our favorites in preparation for the Caldecott awards on January 23! Here’s the second half of our predictions for the coveted prize.

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray, illus. by Marla Frazee; Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster); Ages 3-7

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, illus. Christopher Silas Neal; Chronicle Books; Ages 3-7

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen; Candlewick Press; Ages 3-6

Sea of Dreams by Dennis Nolan; Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan); Ages 3-6

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith; Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan); Ages 3-6

Interested in picking our booksellers’ brains for more of their favorites of this past year? Stop by and chat up our front desk any time!