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Looking at Lincoln

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,472 Ratings  ·  271 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
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Children's Picture Non Fiction/Biographies
10th out of 119 books — 17 voters
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2013 Mock Caldecott
52nd out of 97 books — 241 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,362)
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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
Lisa Vegan
Sep 09, 2012 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
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
Apr 19, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
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.
Melissa Mcavoy
May 10, 2012 Melissa Mcavoy rated it it was amazing
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
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
Susan Rowe
Mar 05, 2016 Susan Rowe rated it really liked it

Kalman, Maira. Looking at Lincoln. New York: Scholastic, 2012. Print.

The major subjects of the book are Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and presidency. The book touches on the ideas of curiosity, honesty, and freedom. The book is an unconventional biography of Abraham Lincoln that includes lesser known, unusual facts about the president and his family. It offers a fun, new way of learning about the 16th president of our country.

Discussion ideas could include discussing Abraham Lincoln’
Jun 23, 2012 Melody rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 11, 2016 Cheryl rated it did not like it
Much too simple. Imo, the pix are ugly. A bunch of sentences, sometimes about the girl, sometimes about the man, do not make a story. As the narrator admits, there are over 16K books about him already; choose one of them instead. Consider Abe Lincoln Remembers, Young Abe Lincoln, The World in the Time of Abraham Lincoln , or something else from
David Schaafsma
Jul 20, 2015 David Schaafsma rated it really liked it
This is a story of Kalman's inquiry into Lincoln. It's HER story, which begins with seeing a very tall, thin man on the street, and paying for coffee with… dollar bills (with Lincoln on it), then going to the library. It's a story of how inquiry into Lincoln started for her, so it s not one of these "objective" children's biographies. As an artist, she is obsessed with his look, as in truth much of the world has always been. But in her (library) research she also finds out lots of important and ...more
Jim Erekson
Feb 04, 2013 Jim Erekson rated it really liked it
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
Apr 23, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it
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
May 20, 2012 Dolly rated it really liked it
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
The life of Abraham Lincoln, through the wondering eyes of Maira Kalman.

"On the day he was elected I bet Mary made his favorite Vanilla Cake. But maybe he forgot to eat his slice. He was often to busy thinking to eat."

On the left-hand page, a big slice of cake; on the right, a top hat. So, from this we have a witty take on Mary and Lincoln's relationship, what they liked to eat, and the fact that Lincoln was a deeply meditative man — a point simply illustrated by "a very tall hat", that he stuf
Becky Loader
Dec 18, 2013 Becky Loader rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 16, 2012 Marcy rated it it was amazing
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 really liked it
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
Oct 25, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing
What an engaging book about such a familiar and iconic figure. The device of looking at him through the learning and impressions of the narrator works well. Kalman's illustrations and her color palette are an experience in themselves - some have the feel of Chagall, others Matisse or Gauguin, and one reminded me of a Cezanne still life. This isn't going to be a satisfying book for younger readers or for those who prefer a cleaner or Disneyesque style of illustration, but all this helps make it m ...more
Miss Pippi the Librarian
Abraham Lincoln is a familiar face because his profile can be seen on U.S. currency. But Lincoln is also a familiar name because he was our 16th president. Beyond his face and name, who was he? What did he do? Where did he grow up? Author Maira Kalman shares a picture book full of historical tidbits about Abraham Lincoln.

Kalman begins with someone recognizing Lincoln then going to the library to discover more about him. The information in the book follows Lincoln's life from his birth in Kentuck
Georgia Karr
I'm very undecided about my feelings toward this book. On the one hand, I love the historical tidbits that are included. On the other, I feel like there was information included that was very irrelevant to the story; such as the little girl talking about the pancakes she had that day. The information in this book is very accurate and explained in a simplistic way that even children of a young age would be able to understand. I liked the fact that other historical figures, such as Frederick Dougl ...more
Brandi M.
Jun 17, 2014 Brandi M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Meg Stolte
May 10, 2014 Meg Stolte rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
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
Apr 16, 2014 Linden rated it really liked it
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
Feb 14, 2014 Madeleine rated it it was amazing
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
Tracy St.
Feb 27, 2014 Tracy St. rated it did not like it
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
Jessica Schuerman
May 11, 2015 Jessica Schuerman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
(Biographical Picture)
I thought this would be a good book to read simply because Abe Lincoln lived in Illinois. This book describes his life in a fun and humors way. The book talks about the relationship he had with his wife. It even talked about where he hid his notes at. This book also pointed out all the important things he did while being a president. At the end of the book it even had information about the Abe Lincoln Memorial. The illustrations in the book just add detail to the book and m
Cole Hoffman
Nov 19, 2014 Cole Hoffman rated it really liked it
Looking at Lincoln is from a little girl's point of view. She sees a man in the park that reminds her of Abraham Lincoln and she gets inspired to research him at the library. The book continues to tell facts Lincoln like how her kept notes in his top hat, always had apples on his desk, and had a dog named fido. The story then continues to teach the reader about the civil war, how Lincoln didn't believe it was right to own people, and that he was murdered.
I highly recommend this book because it g
Brittany Martz
Dec 03, 2014 Brittany Martz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is about a little girl who sees a man on the street who she thinks she recognizes. The man reminds her of someone who is on pennies and five dollar bills. This person was known as Lincoln.The little girl wants to learn more about Lincoln so she goes to the library and reads books about him. Some of the things she learned about Lincoln was, he loved apples and the cakes his wife made him, he lived in a cabin, and he had a dog. This book is a really good age appropriate story for student ...more
Brienz Wilkening
May 29, 2014 Brienz Wilkening rated it really liked it
Shelves: 689
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
Angela Hutchinson
This book give some basics of the life of Abraham Lincoln. In the back of the book it goes into more details from Lincoln's life, such as his children, his step-mother, and his funeral. The text goes back and forth in font style to show the difference between the facts and the narrators thoughts. This would be an excellent book to introduce younger children to the world of the the Civil War and the issues that were being fought for during that time period.

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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
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