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Looking at Lincoln

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,026 ratings  ·  309 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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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,026 ratings  ·  309 reviews

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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
Lisa Vegan
Jun 23, 2012 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 acco
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
Apr 19, 2013 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 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
Jun 23, 2012 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.
3.5 out of 5
A well-researched yet very accessible and engaging (I would even call it eccentric) picturebook biography of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.

However, although Maira Kalman's illustrations are colorful and bold, I am not a huge fan of her drawing style:

Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-ya
Another excellent book by Maira the Great! Interesting, humane, and colorfully illustrated!
Susan Rowe
Mar 05, 2016 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 dis
Jim Erekson
Feb 04, 2013 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 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
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",
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lara by: Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2013
Um...I'm not sure how this happened, but I found myself totally tearing up at the end of this book! I must be super emotional lately...

So, this is the story of Abraham Lincoln as told by a child who sees a man who looks like him one day in the park and decides to do some research. I kind of love that concept, of bringing the reader along for the ride while the narrator delves into history and gives her thoughts about what she's learning. The illustrations are perfect as well--bold an
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 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
Becky Loader
Dec 18, 2013 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
Marcy prager
Feb 16, 2012 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
David Schaafsma
Jul 20, 2015 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
Feb 22, 2012 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 18, 2014 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
Elizabeth A
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, art, kids-ya
This little biography of Lincoln is done with Maira Kalman's usual flair, and is a delight to read. I love how she paints with such care everyday things - Lincoln's hat for example. There is something so fresh about her style. I guess this is targeted for the kiddie set, but I poured over it, and learned something new to boot.
Maria Rowe
I love the illustrations and the text is beautiful. I really love how the story is framed by a girl walking down a street, and seeing someone that looked like Lincoln which lead the girl to read about him. I love the handwritten words that are meant to represent what the girl is thinking. Everything is just so well done. I especially appreciate the fact that Lincoln’s assassination is not shown. I’ve read several children’s books about Lincoln and so many of them include an illustration (or seve ...more
Jake Delaney
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: l-life-stories
This book is appropriate for children between the ages of 6 and 8 years old and has not won any awards. The book is about Abraham Lincoln and his life. It starts with the beginning of his life and ends with how he passed. The book takes you through each important moment or event that had happened to Abraham Lincoln. I like this book because it is very information and tells the story of Abraham Lincoln. The story is accompanied by many great illustrations to depict the story. The book can be used ...more
I love the way Marie Kalman wanders into a story. A walk in the park sparks a memory - who does that man remind her of? Then a stop for delicious pancakes at a coffee shop connects the memory to her five dollar bill which has a picture of Lincoln. So off she goes to the library to learn more. (I love the way this introduces the way we learn. A question, an insight, then off to learn more all by ourselves.)
The illustrations are beautiful and the facts mixed with off handed speculations of pet n
RLL220_Amanda Alvarado
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: info_bios
Looking at Lincoln tells a great story about his life that will keep children interested. The illustrations are very colorful and realistic you can visualize what is going to happen next. The text in the book makes you wonder what Maria Kalman was thinking as she changes the text and the text color throughout the book. Kalman also list her notes and sources at the end of the books. The book could be used by students who are in 1st to 5th grade. Teachers can have students pair up in groups divide ...more
Trista Watson
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Looking at Lincoln" is a Biography book by Maira Kalman. It is written at the third grade reading level. The book gives facts about Abraham Lincoln and also gives a child's perspective on those aspects of his life. It is a fun way to learn about Lincoln while not be bored by only facts. This story could be used in researching Abraham Lincoln for a writing assignment or for reader's theater. There is no content concerns for this book.
This was the second book I found in a LFL in downtown Warren, OH. The artwork is funky and caught my eye and had a good amount of information in it that was delivered in a digestible way. I want to read more of her work not just for my niece and nephew but to own a copy of myself.
Destiny Park
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a short biography of Abraham Lincoln that is beautifully illustrated. The colors are bright and there is some witty humor throughout the book as well! This book would be good to start introducing students to past presidents. I would say it is best suited for grades 2nd-5th.
I *LOVED* this one. The quirky tone of the girl narrator is just the best thing ever. If all early-reader nonfiction books came across as lovably & accessibly as this one, kids would love it a whole lot more as a genre.
Heidi Burkhart
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Somehow, though I am a big fan of Kalman's work, I missed this book. What a terrific picture book for introducing elementary students to Lincoln and the work that he accomplished. Wonderful artwork! Also a very useful page of additional information at the end of the book.
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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