Book #177: Abe Lincoln’s Dream

Abe Lincoln's Dream -- coverAs with all of Lane Smith’s works, the illustrations and design of this book are unique, alluring, weird. If you’re tired of the solemnly painted or stony-faced illustrations that have lionized this president in so many picture books throughout the years, then Abe Lincoln’s Dream is a welcome respite. His Lincoln is ridiculously tall with the skinniest legs ever. In his inimitable style, however, Smith captures the sadness in Lincoln’s face exquisitely. The text, with its ever-changing fonts, belies the subtle poignancy of the story, too.

A girl wandering through her tour discovered a tall man standing over the Gettysburg Address.
“Hi,” said Quincy.
“Hello, child,” he said.
He was dressed in black from head to boot, but she wasn’t frightened; he had a long face that made her feel sorry for him.
“Are you lost?” she asked.
“I don’t think so,” he said, walking through a wall.

In the book, Quincy and the ghost of Lincoln share their dreams, tell a few jokes, and take a flying trip around the world. It sounds stupid to write it this way, but trust me — it’s  better if you see the book for yourself. I love the images of Lincoln’s long, skinny arm wrapped around the little girl as they fly into space.

“And Man?” he asked. “Does he no longer fuss ‘n’ fight with his fellow man?”
“We’re still working on that one.”

This book looks better and better every time I read it. If you read too quickly, I think it looks almost disjointed, but if you ponder the words and pictures a few times and really look at the layout, the pacing, the loving attention to political anecdote and artistic detail, you’ll see this is really a masterpiece.

Lane Smith. Check him out.  ABZ



Abe Lincoln's Dream -- legs


Abe Lincoln's Dream -- cherry blossoms


Abe Lincoln's Dream -- smiling


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  1. Isabel Hardwig says:

    I loved reading this book, it was so enjoyable and the pictures were wonderful. The jokes Quincy and Lincoln told cracked me up and the simple beauty of the whole plot was excellent.

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