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!