Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Abraham Lincoln Comes Home

Abraham Lincoln Comes Home

Robert Burleigh
Illustrator:   Wendell Minor 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
Henry Holt , 2008   ISBN: 978-0805075298

One night a boy and his father ride in their buggy to where the train tracks cross the prairie. They have come to watch the passage of a special train - the train that is carrying Abraham Lincoln's body back to his home in Illinois. Bonfires lit up the night and there were other people there waiting for the funeral train.

The boy watches the train rolls past. It has a picture of the fallen president on the cowcatcher and as it passes the boy sees tears "streaming down his father's cheeks." The boy raises his arm in a salute and the special moment has passed.

For readers who wonder about what it might have been like to be present at some special moment in the past, this book is a treat. In simple words and with powerful imagery, the author perfectly captures one brief moment on a dark night in the late spring of 1865. He shares the sounds, smells, and sights that a child might have experienced as Abraham Lincoln's funeral train went by, and he shows, with very little effort, how beloved this president was.

An afterword and an "interesting facts" section at the back of the book provides older readers with further information about Abraham Lincoln's funeral train.