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Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln
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Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  215 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Michael and Derek don't expect the adventure of a lifetime visiting a Civil War museum with their grandmother. But the mysterious museum keeper invites them to play a game, and before they know it, they're walking through a door straight into a very realistic depiction of 1863. They see the destruction at the battlefield of Antietam, and even meet President Lincoln. Soon, ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 6th 2011 by Philomel Books
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Lisa Vegan
Dec 01, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction & adventure; boys; modern kids; Patricia Polacco fans
This is my first owned Patricia Polacco book. I was very excited to receive it from a very generous Goodreads friend as a (best ever) Chanukah gift the first night of Chanukah. And now I wish I’d opened it when I received it 2 days ago. Sometimes delayed gratification isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. This is Polacco’s latest book, due out in early January. I’ve been caught up with all her books; she is one of my very favorite picture books authors, perhaps my favorite, so I was especially deligh ...more
Alex Toti
In Patricia Polacco's wonderfully illustrated historical fiction Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln the young readers (3rd and 4th grade) are quickly drawn in. Two young boys, Derek and Michael are going on a trip to Washington DC with their grandmother. She tells them there will be no cell phones or iPods on the trip and the boys are concerned they will not have fun on the trip. This is something many children can relate to today. Grandma reassures them that fun will be had and she was right!

Their f
Margo Tanenbaum
Beloved author-illustrator Patricia Polacco returns to the Civil War in her newest picture book aimed at older readers. This story, suitable for upper-elementary school-aged children, follows two brothers, Michael and Derek, who visit the Harpers Ferry Civil War Museum with their grandmother. Initially annoyed when their grandmother tells them that on this trip there will be "no music, no texting, no tweeting, no e-mailing," they decide that the Civil War was "way cool" when they see the guns an ...more
Michael and Derek go with their grandmother to visit the Harpers Ferry Civil War Museum. There, they travel back in time to 1862, meet Mathew Brady and President Lincoln, and see lots of dead bodies scattered on the field at Antietam. The boys have a deadline to time-travel back to the present, but they miss the deadline. What will they do? The man in the museum says, "Some rules are meant to be broken," and transports them back to present time anyway. Later, the boys see a black-and-white photo ...more
Patricia Polacco brings history to life in this story of two boys who take a historical trip with their grandmother. As they board the train, their grandmother strips them of all electronics. The boys boredom soon turns to excitement as they experience a Civil War adventure. They are told they are playing a game. This game becomes very real to the boys and they even have a face-to-face encounter with Abraham Lincoln. They wonder if it is really a game after all.

There are many twists and turns i
I read this book last week while visiting the Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois. I LOVE Patricia Polacco and was excited to see this book which I'd never read before! (I decided not to add a "date I finished" on this book so it won't count towards my total books read. But, I read it in June 2013.)

Most of her books are more realistic where this has two young boys travling back in time. They arrive at the battle of Antietam where they become assistant to the real Civil War and A
Philip Carlson
Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln is the story of two boys who are traveling with their Grandmother to Washington, D.C. Along the way, the three stop in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, to visit a friend of Grandmother's who is thee curator of a Civil War Museum. After a discussion with the boys, the curator dresses them in Union uniforms and sends them through a secret door to play a "game", where they find themselves in the middle of the real Civil War. During this time, they meet Mathew Brady, Abr ...more
Marlee Mattson
“Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln” Review

This story tells the story of two young brothers, Michael and Derek, who take a train that is bound for Washington, D.C. with their grandmother. While on the train, the grandmother tells them that this will be an electronics-free trip and they just can’t believe it. Once they arrive, their grandmother takes them to a museum where they get to try on civil war uniforms. Then, the owner of the Civil War collection, Mr. Portufoy, gives the boys a gold pocket wat
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This just didn't do it for me. Two boys visiting a Civil War Museum in Harpers Ferry with their grandmother travel back in time and meet Abraham Lincoln. Grandma claims it was just a reenactment...but was it? I'd have liked it better had it truly been a reenactment, or if they'd read a soldier's diary, or even if they'd had a dream about the war. I realize that the purpose was to show the boys (and readers) that war isn't "cool." But time travel just didn't work for me.
Michelle at Booksmykidsread
Michael and Derek are off on vacation with their Grandmother. They get on the train and she tells them “No electronics on this trip – no music, no texting, no tweeting, no e-mailing.” The boys don’t know what to do, but they have no choice but to go along with it. The next morning, they get off the train at Harpers Ferry and meet Mr. Portufoy, a “true expert” on the Civil War. “The boys looked at each other, bored,” but their adventure is just about to begin. Mr. Portufoy takes them into his mus ...more
Sometimes it takes a shocking experience to give us the clarity of vision to see reality. For Derek and Michael, two kids accompanying their grandmother on a trip to Washington, D.C. to see the historic Civil War sites of the area, that shocking experience comes while they're visiting a friend of their grandmother's who happens to be an expert on the subject of Civil War photography. Derek and Michael quickly find themselves bored with the expert's exhibits; in fact, they weren't all that excit ...more
I like Patricia Polacco's books. They are based on a real family and have a bit of history to the stories. This newest book by Polacco is about 2 boys visiting their grandma, who doesn't let them play on their electronic toys and gadgets. Instead she takes them to visit Harper's Ferry and watch a Civil War reenactment. The boys are introduced to one of Grandma's friends, who shows the boys a cabinet. The boys walk through the cabinet to find themselves on the battlefield of Antietam, when Mr. Li ...more
Jan 24, 2012 PWRL marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2012-new
Brothers Derek and Michael love their grandmother, but when she takes them to Harpers Ferry for a Civil War reenactment, they are less than thrilled, especially after she bans all technological devices. Before they know it, Mr. Portufoy, the Civil War expert to whom their grandmother introduces them, sends them off to take photographs of the battle's aftermath. Their trip back in time to 1862 truly makes history come alive and brings them to the attention of President Abraham Lincoln who is mour ...more
Sarah W
Two brothers are less than thrilled with their visit to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Their grandma has banned all their electronic gadgets for this trip. When she pulls them into a museum run by one of her friends, a Mr. Portufoy, the boys don't think much of the photographs. The weaponry causes a bit of excitement, but it is the uniforms they are allowed to try on that really captures their attention.

After trying on the uniforms, Mr. Portufoy offers the boys a game, one that promises is bette
Linda Silva
Michael and Derek's grandmother is taking them on a train trip to Washington, D.C. However, she wants them to meet someone in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Mr. Portufoy has a collection of Civil War uniforms, rifles, and photographs that grandma wants to show the boys. The boys are not too excited but they agree to go to the museum and, surprisingly, find themselves involved in a "game" where they are transported to Civil War times. They think it is a civil war reenactment, but is it? After the ...more
Kristina Silverbears
Although this story isn't a chapter book, I would recommend it for ages 5 and up as it is a bit too long and too graphic for a younger audience. That said, I wouldn't recommend the story for most readers anyway, because I feel like I've read it a thousand times already. We didn't really learn much about Lincoln, and though the characters in the story may have learned that war is real, I can hardly imagine that even a child would absorb that truth from this novel. It was a bit disappointing.
This picture book reveals the devastation of war and the human side of President Lincoln as he makes difficult choices affecting our nations history. Peppered throughout the story are historical facts about union and confederate soldiers, uniforms and weapons used during the civil war and particularly the Battle of Antietam. Two boys travel to the battlefield and back in time (or so it seems) to witness first hand the horrific reality of war. Through their experience the author brings to life a ...more
Linda Lipko
This is the third children's illustrated book written by this author dealing with the topic of the Civil War. I found January's Sparrow and Pink & Say more substantiate, but I'm not sure why. Overall, this is a great book.

When Derek and Michael take a trip to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, they are bored by their Aunt's rendering of the historical significance of this area.

Dropping them off at a friend's museum, they are taken by the Civil War guns and the blue and grey uniforms. Watching a
Beth Schencker
Two brothers take a trip back in time to the Civil War when they magically go back in time to the Battle of Antietam. When the boys step into 1862 through a magic door, they are immersed into the heart of the Civil War. Very quickly, what they the boys thought was “very cool” like in their video games, are frightening real now. After meeting Lincoln on the battlefields, they are asked to be included in a historic picture. Realizing this is real, the boys rush back to the Civil War Museum, where ...more
I thought that this book was really cute. I really liked how relevant it is to our time and children can really relate to it. Children in our time period will understand the idea of children being sent into a video game and thinking it is a game, but suddenly realizing that the video game is real life. I also like how the boys were able to relate to their grandmother after being sent to the Civil War. They were able to appreciate history, which their grandmother obviously appreciated. When peopl ...more
This is a wonderful living book about the civil war. In this story, Derek and Michael go back in time and experience the civil war firsthand. They meet President Abraham Lincoln, and the civil war takes on a whole new meaning for them. Wonderful book!
Karen Arendt
This is a third story about the Civil War that Patricia Polacco has written, but this one is a little different: the boys (Michael and Derek) travel back in time to experience the aftermath of Antietam and meet Abraham Lincoln. While Michael and Derek think they are experiencing a game, they are instructed not to reveal that they are from the future. They come to realize how horrific the battle was and try to bolster Abraham Lincoln's spirits by suggesting that things get better after the war en ...more
A moving look at the reality of the Civil War as seen through the eyes of two modern boys. While the time travel plot itself falls a little flat, the devastation of Antietam is all the more shocking when it's witnessed by two boys from the future who think of battle as exciting. The artwork when the boys first see the battlefield is perfect; there is a wordless two-page spread showing bodies on the battlefield, then another wordless spread showing even more of the carnage, then an illustration o ...more
Penny Peck
Another great picture book for older reads by Polacco and set during the Civil War, although not as striking as PINK AND SAY. Two boys and their grandmother visit a friend who is a Civil War expert, and the boys time travel to Antietam right after the historic battle. They see the deaths, meet Mathew Brady and President Lincoln, before returning to the present. The encourage Lincoln, telling him not to give up hope and that he will win. Two wordless spreads show dead soldiers on the battlefield, ...more
Two boys "travel" back to the Civil War to learn that it was more than a game.
They leave with a new understanding of the sacrifices in war that many made for us.
Polacco, P. (2011). Just in time, Abraham Lincoln. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Summary: Derek and Michael travel with their grandma to Washington D.C. The boys step into a reenactment scene and experience the Battle of Antietam. After they return, they have a different perspective and appreciation for history. In some ways, they feel like they played a role in it.

Award: Regina Medal Award 2012

Curriculum connection: In primary grades when students study the Civil War in social studies, students
Carey Hanson
copyright 2011 - science ficiton or fantasy (there is time travel) - ages 7 to 9 years

I love books by Patricia Polacco and I enjoy reading about Abraham Lincoln so I knew I'd enjoy this one. Two boys, Derek and Michael, go on a "no electronics" vacation with their grandmother. While in a museum, the boys travel back in time to 1862 and the Civil War. They meet Abraham Lincoln and view the battlefield at Antietam riddled with dead and injured soldiers. To prove that they've been there, they show
Very few children's books about history make me cry. This one did. The author did a fabulous job of taking you back in time to the battle of Antietam.

Through the eyes of the 2 main characters (2 young boys, typically bored of history and way too plugged in), you are transported to the battlefield just days after the fighting ended at Antietam, a turning point in the Civil War. The drawings are tasteful, yet illustrate the horrors of war and battle. The boys meet Abraham Lincoln, and his persona
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