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Looking at Lincoln

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  921 ratings  ·  225 reviews
Abraham Lincoln is one of the first giants of history children are introduced to, and now Maira Kalman brings him to life with her trademark style and enthusiasm. Lincoln's legacy is everywhere - there he is on your penny and five-dollar bill. And we are still the United States because Lincoln helped hold them together.

But who was he, really? The little girl in this book...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,516)
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Lisa Vegan
Sep 09, 2012 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: as an introduction to learning about Lincoln/history or as an adjunct to other materials
Recommended to Lisa by: Melody
What I especially love about this book is how accessible the account is for kids learning about Lincoln and his time in history. It certainly makes history and the man come alive.

I usually have problems with books such as this, one that mixes non-fiction with speculation/fiction, but I was okay with the way it was done here.

I really enjoyed the illustrations. They’re also very accessible and greatly enhance the text, and their appearance changes to match what is going on in the account.

I did le...more
Melissa Mcavoy
It is rare that settling a coffee shop tab is the jumping off point for a biographical sketch, but then Maria Kalman’s work rarely takes us where we expect to go. Looking at Lincoln deftly integrates Kalman’s admiration for Lincoln with research prompted by a realization she has passed a man in the park that looked just like him. The book begins with handwritten personal reflections, in a large font accessible to young readers. Once Kalman has visited the library, facts are rendered in simple ty...more
Kalman has given us a beautifully simple introduction to our 16th President (and my personal Presidential hero) that focuses on who he was as a person as much as the important events of his time in office. She tells us that he loved vanilla cake best but sometimes he was so busy thinking he would forget to eat. She tells us he was seven feet tall when he wore his stovepipe hat, and that he stuffed the inside of his hat with notes and notes and more notes. She tells us he loved his dog, Fido, mus...more
What a fantastic book!
I love Lincoln, and this book captures what he stood for in a beautiful way. The young girl's fascination with him personalizes this biography.
The pictures are vivid, and even the font adds to the greatness of the book.
This book is on the Texas Bluebonnet List for next year, and I hope the kids like it as much as I do.
And I hope they'll follow the narrator's urging and really look at him....and this book is a terrific start.
There were three, maybe four splendid illustrations in this book. All of them are good and one of them is absolutely breathtaking. The text is warm, informative without being smarmy or stupid- a sin so many nonfiction picture books commit. I'm glad I read it.
On April 15, 1865 President Lincoln was declared dead at 7:22 in the morning, having been shot the night before at Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth. It is hard not to be fascinated by the persona of Lincoln, and there are those who even fall in love with him a bit, such as Maira Kalman.

I am a big fan of the art of Maira Kalman. Her style is unmistakable – she is a cartoon artist, painter, writer, and journalist who is at once whimsical, colorful, and witty, and a delight for both the eye and...more
Jim Erekson
I've loved Maira Kalman's absurd style since Nancy bought Chicken Soup, Boots! back in the 90s.

Because this book is presented as a look at Lincoln's image and its saturation in popular culture, I find it a fine postmodern picturebook. Her trademark illustration style pays little homage to the photo realism we expect in informational text [Hi, Stacy!]. The framing and 'photo album' composition is consistent with the title--throughout the book I am looking in.

Free association and coincidence pro...more
From the endpapers with the Gettsyburg Address all the way through the book's concluding page at the Lincoln Memorial, this picture book is a treat and a visually appealing tribute to Abraham Lincoln, the nation's sixteenth president. It starts in an unusual way when the narrator happens to see a tall man who reminds her of someone. Later, after she uses a $5 bill with Lincoln's visage on it, she realizes the connection between the tall man who caught her eye and Lincoln. A visit to the library...more
Christine Turner
Abraham Lincoln is one of the first giants of history children are introduced to, and now Maira Kalman brings him to life with her trademark style and enthusiasm. Lincoln's legacy is everywhere - there he is on your penny and five-dollar bill. And we are still the United States because Lincoln helped hold them together. But who was he, really? The little girl in this book wants to find out. Among the many other things, she discovers our sixteenth president was a man who believed in freedom for a...more
Allison Parker
I'm a total sucker for Maira Kalman. Here she weaves poignant intimacy into a seemingly exhausted topic: the life of Abraham Lincoln. Painted still-life examinations coupled with her signature, handwritten thoughts allow the reader to stop for a moment, and wonder with the author: "He wrote many notes and stuffed them inside his hat. What was he thinking about?" "I wonder if Mary and Abraham had nicknames for each other. Did she call him Linky? Did he call her Little Plumpy? Maybe." Consideratio...more
May 20, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful book that shows the things that one young girl learns about Abraham Lincoln. It is a biography wrapped inside a story, and we all learned a little something new about President Lincoln.

I like that the details shared include ones that children might be interested in, like the fact that he loved to eat an apple everyday, he loved listening to Mozart, and that his dog was named Fido. I am not a big fan of the illustrations, but I will admit that they give the impression of the...more
Becky Loader
I am now a fan of Maira Kalman. I read about this book in a recommended list in the newspaper. I was thoroughly charmed by the simple, elegant words and the totally appropriate, appealing artwork. A girl sees a man walking in the park, and he reminds her of someone. That someone is Abraham Lincoln. She decides to find out about Mr. Lincoln by going to the library (a girl after my own heart). Please note: she does not "google" him. Her explorations yield tantalizing factoids that are accompanied...more
Looking at Lincoln, by Maira Kalman, is an amazing depiction of Abraham Lincoln with magnificent colored pictures and not only factual information, but the "thinking" about Lincoln by a small girl who is looking at his statue in the Lincoln Monument. As she "wonders" about Lincoln, some factual answers are provided. This was the first book that my not-so-much beginner ELL student wanted to read in English. History is powerful, and if it is told in this way, it is accessible to all students. I ma...more
Feb 22, 2012 Vj rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teachers of elementary grades
Shelves: children-s-books
The author states that "there are over 16,000 books written about [Lincoln]," and I think this is a really good one for children to read. Written from a young girl's point of view, the book has just enough factual information to be informative for a child and the accompanying questions and comments would be of interest to children. I especially like the use of two typefaces, one for the facts and one for the wonderings and comments of the child. Illustrations are attractive and appealing too. I...more
Brandi M.
1. Twin Text: Abe Lincoln’s Dream, Author: Lane Smith, Copyright: 2012

2. Rationale: We have adopted a new social studies curriculum for next year and will be learning about Abraham Lincoln. The two texts I chose for this pairing will help supplement my curriculum next year. “Looking at Lincoln” is set up as narrative nonfiction where a young girl tells the story of facts she has learned about Abe Lincoln. Her facts range from his birth to his death with many important dates in between. In, “Abe...more
Meg Stolte
Looking at Lincoln is a biography written for younger students, filled with many colorful, engaging pictures for young readers. It starts off from the perspective from a child who walks by the Lincoln Memorial and later notices Lincoln on money, sparking a launch into the biography part of the book. It’s told from the perspective of a child, with many questions asked from a child’s point of view, and factually based responses. This is an example of a biography, since it shares the story of Abrah...more
What I especially love Looking at Lincoln is how accessible the account is for kids learning about Lincoln and his time in history. It makes history and the president in a sense come alive. This book is a very interesting and informative picture book biography of the life of Abraham Lincoln. It begins with a young girl walking through the park and sees a man who looks like Abraham Lincoln. She then decides to learn more about him and goes to library to do some research. The rest of the book tell...more
Review posted at

Looking at Lincoln is a great book to share with the little ones in your life during any time of the year, but especially today! Abraham Lincoln was born 205 years ago today and to honor his birthday, I picked out a very special read- one that I would highly recommend to mark this holiday. Maira Kalman examines Lincoln from a great perspective, that of a child with a curiosity that fuels her to find out about the little and big things that made Linco...more
Tracy St.
I am always on the lookout for picture books that correspond with lesson I teach in class or holidays that we celebrate and thought that Looking at Lincoln might be a good addition to my classroom library for President’s Day. After only a few short pages though I quickly realized this was not to be the case. This picture book, about a little girl who sees a man that reminds her of Abraham Lincoln has no true plot or story line and jumps quickly from topic to topic. The pictures in this book are...more
Brienz Wilkening
I have always found Abraham Lincoln to be an interesting person to study because he did so much good for our country. This book did not disappoint. It is a story about a little girl that sees a man that remands her of Lincoln and then takes us on a journey through his life. One of the things that I liked most about this book was that when the little girl is thinking something the book is written in one font and then when it is an actual fact the book is written in a different font. This illustra...more
I ordered this book from Scholastic based on the positive reviews. I was disappointed. The story seemed very fragmented and included a lot of speculation mixed with facts.

My least favorite aspect was the illustrations. The cover presents a whimsical style which reminds me of the "Madeline" books, but inside the pages the illustrations are rather dark and sometimes really detract from the text. Some human figures have green skin, features are distorted and the colors are jarring. We're donating...more
An excellent book for elementary-aged kids ... and their parents! I learned lots about Lincoln that I didn't know. This book includes plenty of interesting trivia-bits about our sixteenth president (things that make this great man a little more accessible, like his favorite flavor of cake). What I especially appreciated, though, was the attempt to bring home Abraham Lincoln's legacy to the present day at a level that children will understand. I found this book to be visually interesting, from th...more
Looking at Lincoln is a book about the story of Abraham Lincoln and the connections that are in the present (money and the Lincoln Monument). The book talks about Lincoln's early life up to his death. I think that it is nice that the book also talks a little bit about Lincoln having children, as no one really hears about Lincoln's children. The book also makes connections to democracy, freedom, war and equality. This would be a great book for teachers to read aloud during February (President's d...more
Darshana Khiani (Flowering Minds)
Beautiful tribute with a contemporary voice and bright, bold colored gouche illustrations that will hook any reader young or old. This is not your typical picture book biography.

The story reads as if you are listening to a friend tell you about her day

“One day, while walking through the park on my way to breakfast I saw a very tall man. He reminded me of someone, but I could not think who … And then I remembered. The man I had seen looked exactly like Abraham Lincoln.”

The author doesn’t just spe...more
The man in the park was the doppelganger of Abraham Lincoln, the same man who was on the five-dollar bill. But who was he, really? Who was Lincoln? From the start of this marvelous picture book biography, the curiosity of a little girl paints an intriguing and exciting portrait of our 16th president.

The young narrator goes to the library to discover the facts. Over 16,000 books have been written about this great man, and initially the young girl gets lost in pictures of his unusual face. She do...more
Ms. McCall
Released just in time for Presidents Day, Maira Kalman’s latest children’s book treads the line between fiction and nonfiction by imposing a narrator into a factual account of Abraham Lincoln’s life. A young girl’s uncanny street side glimpse of an Abraham Lincoln doppelganger stirs an impassioned interest in finding out more about his life and accomplishments. The result is a brief, didactic account of Lincoln’s most curious deeds, annotated throughout with commentary from our young comic narr...more
Jan 22, 2012 Jess rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People
Recommended to Jess by: Kalman's And the Pursuit of Happiness
Kalman invites us to take a look at Lincoln.

Oh, I just love her books so much. Fair warning, you're reading the review of a total Kalman fangirl.

It's hopeful. I like that. When you read about a great person, it should inspire you to positive things. That isn't always the case. Yes, she has the sorrow for his death, but then there's an invitation to meet him in Washington D.C. and cherry blossoms and you just start to believe.

The illustrations are fantastic, as always. I love the tidbit details...more
Lu Benke
Okay, I didn't want to read this. Nothing personal about Lincoln or even this book. I just have read one too many picture book biographies lately. But, it's really a cool book and kept surprising me at every turn of the page. Even fonts vs. handlettering kept me paying attention. The text didn't try to cover it all--just things that captured the essence of the man and the kinds of things that make the biographies of famous people accessible to young readers. (Think Kathleen Krull. I love her bio...more
Marjorie Estavillo
Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman is a very informative biography for children. This biography is on the sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The story line of the biography is about a little girl who sees a man that looks very familiar and reminds her of someone. Then when her family goes out to dinner she realizes the person who she saw previously reminded her of Lincoln. After figuring out who the mystery man was, the little girl was curious and wanted to learn more abo...more
Jen Kahl
I enjoyed reading this book about Abraham Lincoln. It offered very vivid illustrations that matched the text so that a young child could take a picture walk and figure out what most of the book was about. On the inside front and back covers, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was written. The book talked about Lincoln from the time he was small up through the Civil War and his murder. After each event the author asked a question that seemed like an appropriate question a child would ask. For example,...more
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Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She has worked as a designer, author, illustrator and artist for more than thirty years without formal training. Her work is a narrative journal of her life and all its absurdities. She has written and illustrated twelve children's books including Ooh-la-la- Max in Love, What Pete Ate, and Swami on Rye . Sh...more
More about Maira Kalman...
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