Written by Steve Sheinkin
This true crime thriller will amaze fifth grade readers interested in American history. It tells about the conspirators as they plan how to steal Lincoln’s body out from under the Lincoln monument in Springfield, Illinois, as well as when and why they would even try such a thing.
On the other side of the story are the Secret Service agents following their trail but wanting to catch them in the act rather than just prevent the theft. They have placed an undercover double agent in the middle of the works that causes the tension to rise as readers expect him to get caught many different times.
These are the very earliest days of the Secret Service and readers will be interested to read how much of their decision making in catching criminals was left up to each individual detective.
Beside the main crime at hand, these conspirators are also involved with counterfeiting plates of American currency. When one of their main leaders gets sent to prison the rest first try to think of a way to get him out; then devise a plan for keeping up the counterfeiting ring without him.
As a diversion, they plan the theft for election night of 1876 to be sure all the neighbors are off the roads and in town.
Several different literacy skills can be strengthened by use of this book including, reading for details, sequencing, comprehension, vocabulary, context clues, plot and cause and effect.
Boys and girls in the third grade and beyond would benefit from having this book read aloud or assigned in a book club setting where it can be discussed and enjoyed with others.
The story is smoothly written and moves the plot along at a brisk pace keeping young readers interested. It contains several photographs from the time as well as diagrams of the Lincoln Monument and maps of the surrounding grounds to help readers get drawn into the tale.
Author information: This book is written by the same author that wrote the nonfiction Newberry Honor Book, BOMB. BOMB also received the 2013 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal. http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/sibertmedal
Extras: Glossary, Source Notes, Index, Authenic Photos from the Library of Congress and the Lincoln Monument Site, maps of the site and diagrams of the Lincoln Monument in Springfield, Illinois.
- Title: Lincoln’s Grave Robbers
- Author: Steve Sheinkin
- Publisher: Scholastic, NY, January 1, 2013.
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Hardcover/ 207 p
- ISBN: 978-0-545-40572-0
- Genre: American History 1875, true crime thriller
- Lexile: 930