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Cover image for Abe Lincoln's dream
Abe Lincoln's dream
First edition.
New York : Roaring Brook Press, [2012]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
When a schoolgirl gets separated from her tour of the White House and finds herself in the Lincoln bedroom, she also discovers the ghost of the great man himself.
Program Information:
AR 3.0 0.5.

Accelerated Reader AR 3.0 0.5 154661.

Accelerated Reader Grades K-4 3 0.5 Quiz 154661 English fiction.
Electronic Access:


Call Number
JP Smi
JP Smi
E Smith

On Order



From the bestselling author of It's a Book comes a funny, touching tale about the legacy of America's greatest president.

When a schoolgirl gets separated from her tour of the White House and finds herself in the Lincoln bedroom, she also discovers the ghost of the great man himself. Together they embark on a journey across the country to answer Lincoln's questions and quiet his concerns about the nation for which he gave his life. This wholly original tale is signature Lane Smith; Abe Lincoln's Dream is funny, touching, and surprising in a way only possible from this master picture book creator.

This title has Common Core connections.

Author Notes

Lane Smith was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 25, 1959. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration from Art Center, College of Design in Pasadena, California. He moved to New York City and was hired to do illustrations for various publications including Time, Mother Jones, and Ms..

He is a children's book author and an illustrator. His titles with Jon Scieszka have included the Caldecott Honor winner The Stinky Cheese Man, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, Math Curse, and Science Verse. He wrote and illustrated Madam President, John, Paul, George and Ben, The Happy Hocky Family, The Happy Hocky Family Moves to the Country, It's a Book, and Grandpa Green.

His other high profile titles include Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by Dr. Seuss and Jack Prelutsky, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders, Big Plans by Bob Shea, and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. He also served as conceptual designer on the Disney film version of James and the Giant Peach, Monsters, Inc. and the film adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! In 2017, he was awarded the Kate Greenway Medal for children¿s book illustration for There is a Tribe of Kids.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-A picture book that transforms the 16th president from a seemingly austere, severe figure into a sympathetic character. A young African American girl named Quincy encounters the ghost of Abe Lincoln on a school tour of the White House. He tells the child about a recurring dream in which he is sailing a ship on a stormy sea, unsure of where he's heading. (The afterword explains that the president reported having this nightmare several times, including the evening before his assassination.) In an attempt to cheer him, Quincy reassures Lincoln that the state of the nation has vastly improved since his presidency, and the two take flight on a whirlwind tour. Dynamic spreads of the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, and an American flag planted on the Moon-digitally rendered in oil painting and pen-and-ink-reflect Quincy's assertion that "'overall the founding fathers would be proud of our progress.'" The dark palette and parchmentlike background give the book a traditional feel, but Smith adds a sense of whimsy through his creative use of fonts and the witty tone of the narrative. Despite the cartoonish style, Lincoln is fully humanized: visible pen marks that indicate wrinkles and bags under his eyes suggest his anguish over the state of the union, while his penchant for corny jokes ("'Ghosts are no good at telling fibs....You can see right through them'") will endear him to readers. Pair this picture book with Maira Kalman's Looking at Lincoln (Penguin, 2012) to give students a portrait of the man that transcends mere facts.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The device of a conversation between a schoolgirl and Lincoln's ghost could have been a clumsy gimmick, but Smith (Grandpa Green) executes it with casual grace. Riffing on a piece of trivia-that White House dogs often barked inexplicably outside the Lincoln bedroom-Smith imagines Quincy straying from her White House tour and stumbling upon a familiar-looking figure in a stovepipe hat. When the melancholy gentleman confesses his anxiety about the aftermath of his presidency ("Are the states united?... Did that work out?"), she hastens to reassure him. "Yes, that worked out fine," she smiles. "And equality for all?" he presses. "That's working out, too," she says. "It's getting better all the time." They tour the country ("the ghost did the flying") and finish on the moon, whose American flag prompts Lincoln's first expression of pleasure: "Three cheers and ballyhoo!" Smith's engraving-like illustrations are in quiet shades of dollar-bill green, but there's plenty of visual excitement in the circus-poster typography. Quincy's unexpectedly moving encounter presents American history not as a series of dry and inevitable events, but as Lincoln's dream fulfilled. Ages 5-9. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Smith channels his inner Dickens, presenting a ghost of White Houses past: the specter of one Abraham Lincoln. While visiting the White House, a young girl named Quincy spies a tall man in a stovepipe hat pacing around. He confesses to worrying about the path the country has taken since 1865. Quincy persuades him to leave the Executive Mansion (as he still thinks of it), and the two soar over Washington DC. Are the states united? Abe asks. Quincy assures him they are, and that his optimistic, forward-thinking wish for equality for all people is now possible. And Man? the ghost asks as they fly past the Capitol. Does he no longer Fuss n Fight with his fellow man? Quincys answer -- Were still working on that one -- is underscored by an illustration of a chair being thrown out of that august building. Here, Smiths palette, which lightens from darker reds, browns, and blacks to the glorious promise of Washingtons cherry blossoms, shows faith in that possibility, leading to the storys hopeful ending, with Americas Ship of State (appropriately, a nineteenth-century paddle wheeler) heading toward a better world. Abes Ichabod Crane-like angularity is set against an imaginative array of design elements, from the hand-lettered broadside printing of the nineteenth century to collages incorporating various patterns and effects -- crackle, sponge-painting, spackle -- that also lend an old-fashioned feel. However, Smith combines and juxtaposes these elements to create a look both bold and spectacular. Beyond its visual pleasures, the book effectively, and with a light touch, presents government as a work in progress rather than the done-deal children are usually taught; authors notes (effectively pitched at a young audience) provide historical context. betty carter (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Smith transcends clichs to present a fresh and intimate glimpse of the 16th president. Opening panels, rendered digitally and in oil and ink, hone in on three presidential pooches that wouldn't "enter THAT room" in the White House. By the time present-day Quincy goes AWOL from her tour to discover a pale man in a stovepipe hat who walks through walls, there have been enough subsequent clues that readers will understand the dogs' hesitation. The sensitive African-American protagonist perceives that Lincoln is haunted by unfinished business. While sharing groan-inducing jokes and flying over monuments, farms and the moon, the two discuss American progress. Quincy offers encouraging words on the union of the states and equality, but about fighting, she observes, "We're still working on that one." They share recurring dreams; Lincoln's is about a "ship sailing rapidly for some shore I know not where." A brief (although undocumented) afterword says this is so. The palette is appropriately somber, but touches like the striking red roses that fill the foreground of the moonlit mansion's garden mitigate the darkness. Types of varying sizes and weights mimic those found in period newspapers and political posters. The final spread features Quincy's dream: fireworks flaring, a smiling president sails into the light. An adroit blend of humor, compassion and quiet optimism reflects the statesman's character and make this a first choice for February or anytime. (Picture book. 5-8)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

In Smith's latest presidential-themed offering, the Lincoln Room at the White House is haunted. The proof? Over the years, none of the presidential pets would step paw inside. Enter an inquisitive girl named Quincy (homage to Adams?) who is taking a school tour of the White House and spots the ghost of Lincoln standing over the Gettysburg Address. Quincy and Lincoln tell silly jokes and share what they most often dream about for Lincoln, he is on a ship sailing toward an unknown shore. Eventually, Quincy leads Lincoln out of the White House and gives him an update on progress since 1865; the former prez is happy to know the states are united. While there are plenty of juicy historical tidbits for teachers and librarians to mine here, kids may need help to follow the random musings and sort fact from fiction. The excellent, textured artwork mixes period and modern details well, and the beige palette, with hints of red and blue, is lovely. A perhaps too-brief afterword references the dream, which haunted Lincoln the morning of his assassination, and notes the presidential pooches. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Highly acclaimed Smith is just coming off his Caldecott Honor win for Grandpa Green (2011). Teachers, librarians, and anyone who knows anything about kids' books will be anticipating this one.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist