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What Lincoln Said

What Lincoln Said

by Sarah L. Thomson, James E. Ransome (Illustrator)

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The story of one of Ameri a's most revered presidents—in his own words!

"I could scarcely believe my eyes. By honest work I had earned a dollar." Abraham Lincoln resolved always to work hard and be honest. With much perseverance, he became a lawyer and a politician.

"Just think of such a one as me as president!" he laughed when


The story of one of Ameri a's most revered presidents—in his own words!

"I could scarcely believe my eyes. By honest work I had earned a dollar." Abraham Lincoln resolved always to work hard and be honest. With much perseverance, he became a lawyer and a politician.

"Just think of such a one as me as president!" he laughed when his wife said he could lead the country.

But Lincoln had great changes he wanted to make. He campaigned, saying, "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong," and he won the election in 1860.

Award-winning author Sarah L. Thomson deftly integrates Abraham Lincoln's famous words into the narrative, revealing the inspiration and determination that led to his greatest achievements. Renowned illustrator James E. Ransome has created striking paintings that illuminate Lincoln's enthusiasms and passions from childhood through his adult life.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
It may well be that there are dozens of picture books on President Lincoln, but surely there are few, if any, that incorporate Lincoln's own words into the manuscript. Award-winning author Sarah Thomson does just that in this well-written book about Abraham Lincoln. Using Lincoln's words on every page, Thomson weaves the story of one of the nation's greatest presidents from his boyhood in Illinois to his rise and struggles as president of the United States during the Civil War. Thomson's quotes are accessible, adding rather than distracting from the book's narrative. There is, however, more to Lincoln's story than befits one picture book. Recognizing that, Thomson chooses to focus on Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Renowned illustrator James Ransome's pictorial interpretations support Thomson's text, enhancing the student's background knowledge of the issues at hand. A timeline of important dates in Lincoln's life is included, as is additional background on Lincoln's role in ending slavery. An engaging read, this picture book will no doubt add to any classroom discussion of slavery, the presidency, the Civil War, or Lincoln himself. Teachers wishing to integrate subjects could easily use this text for a discussion on the use of quotes and quotations marks within the context of a story. Reviewer: Kris Sauer
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

By using Lincoln's own words, Thomson builds a portrait that relates his statements to significant events in his life. From commenting on making his first dollar ("The world seemed wider and fairer before me.") to working hard, his attitude toward slavery ("If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.") to his reaction to war, and finally to signing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln's character and times are revealed. Short descriptions of the circumstances and a related quote are set on bold, colorful spreads. Ransome delivers a larger-than-life portrait of this homely president with acrylic, almost cartoonlike paintings. Lincoln kneels on a map, trying to hold the Union together, reaches out to angry Southerners saying, "We are not enemies, but friends," and frets over the war. His awkward size, dedication to his cause, and serious side all come across. An engaging overview, this is a worthy introduction to this famous president.-Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
As a young lad, Abraham Lincoln learned the importance of an honest wage, and his work ethic garnered results. From Lincoln's transition from law into politics, Thomson succinctly describes slavery's impact in the Civil War and the president's resulting actions. Lincoln's nuanced personality comes through clearly in his direct quotations, well-chosen and reproduced in a colored type within the text, revealing both the man's humor and conviction. Commenting on his unfavorable looks when called two-faced, Lincoln replies, "If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?" These lighter moments are effectively contrasted against Lincoln's monumental decision to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, which concludes this selection and is appropriately complicated both within the account and in an expanded note in the backmatter. Ransome portrays the president with an exaggerated stature, stretching out Lincoln's elongated limbs even further at times for emphasis. His double-page paintings are most effective when depicting a solitary Lincoln, reaching out to the American people. A solid introduction, although source notes are lacking. (timeline, author's, illustrator's notes) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
AD670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah L. Thomson is the author of Stars and Stripes: The Story of the American Flag, a Nebraska Golden Sower Award finalist; all the Wildlife Conservation Society I Can Read Books, including Amazing Tigers!, winner of an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award; and What Lincoln Said, written with "admirable simplicity" (ALA Booklist). Sarah lives in Portland, Maine.

James E. Ransome’s work has appeared in nearly fifty books for children, including The Creation by James Weldon Johnson, a Coretta Scott King Award Book; Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; The Old Dog by Charlotte Zolotow; How Many Stars in the Sky? by Lenny Hort; and This Is the Dream by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander. His highly acclaimed illustrations for Let My People Go: Bible Stories Told By A Freeman Of Color won the NAACP Image Award, and his traveling exhibit “Visual Stories” is featured in libraries and museums throughout the country. He teaches illustration at Syracuse University and lives in Rhinebeck, NY, with his family.

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