A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Abe Lincoln's Dream doesn't provide specific information about Lincoln, exactly, but its dreamy approach will inevitably spur discussion about the president and his legacy.
This is a hopeful ghost story inspiring optimism. Quincy and Lincoln's journey is a reminder that the America is still a work in progress. There's still much to be done, but there's good reason to celebrate how far the country has come -- and to look forward to what's ahead.
Positive Role Models
Quincy sees Lincoln looking confused and upset and wants to help him. She comforts him and tries to assuage his worries. Lincoln is a mournful ghost, burdened by the thought that he had responsibilities he didn't meet.
Violence & Scariness
The tone is comforting, not frightening, but there's no getting around the fact that the central character is the ghost of a president who died prematurely. One page, addressing conflict, shows a chair tossed through a window of the Capitol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Abe Lincoln's Dream, by Lane Smith, the author of Grandpa Green, is best appreciated by readers who know a little bit about the 16th president. If your child isn't aware of the trials and tribulations of Lincoln's time, you may want to talk about him before reading the book, or discuss his legacy afterward and then read it through again. It also might be helpful to first read the afterword, which speaks of the dream Lincoln reportedly had the night before he was killed and explains about the presidential pets that regarded the Lincoln Bedroom oddly. Parents should be prepared for questions about the Civil War, slavery, and Lincoln's assassination.
Is It Any Good?
Author and illustrator Lane Smith has a well-earned reputation for wonderfully risky books. ABE LINCOLN'S DREAM doesn’t have the edgy humor found in some of Smith's other works, but it has a different kind of daring: It's so dreamy, it might float over the heads of young readers, much like Lincoln sails over America in its pages. But this invites adults reading with children to help provide context, providing opportunities to reflect the book's themes and explore details. Smith captures both Lincoln's famed melancholy and his wit. Lincoln's questions to Quincy bore into some of the central themes of American history, providing a springboard to learn more.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.