Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Superlative A. Lincoln: Poems about our 16th President by Eileen R. Meyer Review

The Superlative A. Lincoln celebrates the numerous (and surprising) ways in which our sixteenth president excelled. The nineteen poems in this non-fiction poetry collection include "Most Distracted Farmer," "Biggest Dreamer," "Best Use of an Accessory," and "Most Admired President," to name a few. Each poem shares a fascinating story about events in Abraham Lincoln's life. History notes accompany each poem and explain more about the ways in which Lincoln was superlative.

In the back matter, "The Superlative YOU" encourages young readers to consider the numerous ways in which they, too, are superlative. The book empowers young readers to learn more about Lincoln's life and dream about great accomplishments that they hope to achieve.

I like to read books about the history of the United States. This is the reason why I chose the book “The Superlative A. Lincoln: Poems about our 16th President” by Eileen R. Meyer and illustrations by Dave Szalay. I have some knowledge of Abraham Lincoln. Now that I have read this book, I have learned a lot more about our 16th President. It was amazing to experience how people lived their lives during his time.

It was cool to read a book of poems instead of one with normal texts. Each poem showed certain parts of his life. The illustrations in each poem helped me paint a picture of all the things he went through. Mr. Lincoln is very interesting. Even though he never went to school, he was a very smart man. He is self-educated.

He was a helpful man and would chop wood all day to help his father build their family cabin. He loved to read and study and would not choose to do his daily farm work. Another interesting fact was that he was in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Abraham Lincoln is recognized as the most admired President because he showed bravery, great wisdom and believed that all people should be free. He was also great in giving speeches.

This is a fun book to read and I would recommend it to others who are looking for an educational title. You will learn about his childhood, hobbies, presidency and his work for our country. I like author Eileen’s writing style and how she wrote Abraham Lincoln’s life in poems.

Here are Jordan's written reviews as he reads per chapter. Just click the picture to enlarge. ***WARNING** Review Contains SPOILERS. Do NOT click the pictures if you do not wish to be Spoiled.

All Chapter Reviews are Written by Book Nerd Jordan.


Telling Abraham Lincoln's story in poetry is a tall order, but Meyer pulls it off. "Come read about a legend— / the greatest of the greats; / from a poor boy in the backwoods / to a president, first-rate." The title of each celebratory poem offers a yearbook-style superlative about our 16th president: "Best Wrestler," "Best Lumberjack," "Who's Tallest?" Each poem is accompanied by a brief paragraph providing context for the poem. The rhyming poems are mostly in third person, though one is in the voice of Lincoln's stovepipe hat, and there's another from Grace Bedell, who wrote to the president encouraging him to grow a beard. The upbeat poems and string of superlatives, however, leave little room for more nuanced explanations, as in "Strongest Conviction: Signing the Emancipation," from which readers learn that Lincoln freed the slaves but not that they weren't really free yet nor that his commitment to abolition was limited. The portrait orientation of the volume is the right choice for our tall president, and Szalay's attractive, folksy art manages to capture the homespun spirit of the poems. Brown faces appear in the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial, and President Barack Obama and Frederick Douglass make appearances. The collection will make excellent reading aloud in the classroom, a few a day. A tip of the stovepipe hat for making a poetry biography so much fun. Kirkus Reviews

These 19 poems demythologize Abraham Lincoln. Amusing tidbits of information, like why Abe wore such a tall hat, are combined with historical footnotes. Illustrations are fun and educational. Illustrations rendered in a soft, natural palette convey a sense of Lincoln’s humanity by including examples of behavior people do when they think no one is watching. An excellent use of language and recognizable rhyme schemes make this title a wonderful teaching tool for the classroom. These well-researched poems hold readers’ attention and could encourage them to explore additional questions. ­VERDICT A good example of how poetry can also inform. Highly recommended for elementary schools and public libraries. School Library Journal

You can purchase The Superlative A. Lincoln: Poems about our 16th President at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Eileen R. Meyer

Eileen R. Meyer writes picture books. Her works include The Superlative A. Lincoln (Charlesbridge); Sweet Dreams, Wild Animals: A Story of Sleep; and other titles. Eileen loves visiting schools and speaking to gatherings of fellow writers, educators and librarians. Eileen is a long-time member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and has volunteered for SCBWI-IL in many roles over the years. Eileen and her husband split their time between Illinois and North Florida and have three sons. For more information and to contact Eileen, please visit


  1. Thanks Jean - I appreciate the shout out! When I visit schools, students love the poem story format - bite-sized and stories that resonate with kids! So glad that Jordan liked it, too! Love the notes. :)

  2. "Who's your favorite president?" Let's say Lincoln.

  3. Is this giveaway international (as it says on the rafflecopter)? Because we only have Prime Ministers here, and none have inspired favourable praise, except maybe the current one.

  4. My all-time favorite president was Teddy Roosevelt!

  5. Donald Trump is my favorite president

  6. George Washington is one of my favorite presidents. I wish we had a little bit more of that moral compass in Washington today.