Vinnie and Abraham

by Dawn FitzGerald

Hardcover, 2007



Local notes

921 LIN




Charlesbridge (2007), 48 pages. $15.95.


"The true story of Vinnie Ream's courage and persistence in the service of art, and in the service of a friend."--Dust jacket, front flap.


Ohioana Book Award (Finalist — Juvenile Literature — 2008)
Society of Midland Authors Award (Nominee — Children's Nonfiction — 2008)
Virginia Readers' Choice (Nominee — Elementary — 2010)
Read Aloud Indiana Book Award (Intermediate — 2009)


Original language


Physical description

48 p.; 10.43 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Artsy_Reader
Vinnie Ream had grown up in Wisconsin. She would use the nice, moist mud to create sculptures. When the Civil War broke out, her family moved to Washington D.C. They began to hire women at places, so at the age of 14, she worked at the post office sorting through the mail that belonged to people
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that moved or died. One day, as she walked to work, she saw an oddly familiar man walking the streets. He was extremely tall with a tall black hat. She was surprised to see Abraham Lincoln walking so freely among the people during war time. She wanted to sculpt his face so bad that she was going to make it out of mud right then and there, but decided she was late for work. Later that day, Vinnie could not stand it anymore. She needed to use her talent, so she went to the famous sculptor, Clark Mills, and asked him for a job. She proved herself and became his assistant. For a couple of years, she begged her boss and the congressmen she sculpted to ask Mr. Lincoln for an appointment to sculpt him. She finally got it and became friends with the president. However, after she finished it, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The new president wanted a memorial statue for Lincoln, so Vinnie applied for the job. She beat all the men and was commissioned for the job. Everyone doubted her because of her age and gender, but she had a clay sculpture done in 6 months, however, the final was supposed to be in marble. Vinnie traveled to Italy with her sculpture and asks the artists there to help her. It took her 5 years to complete the commission. Vinnie Ream became the youngest artist to be commissioned and also the first woman to be commissioned.

The author used the history of the real Vinnie Ream and added a few lines of invented dialogue. I absolutely love this story, not only because I’m an artist, but to see how the women in history proved they were also great artist. This story tells of how hard art can be even for the best artists. I think hearing those stories encourages others to keep going and not give up. The end result is always better that the beginning.

I would use this book in a classroom as a trivia. It tells about who killed Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Civil War. It could be trivia over Lincoln, the war, Vinnie, and the time period. I could also have the children look into Vinnie and see if she made any more famous art works and/or have them look up other woman artist from the Civil War period and before.
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LibraryThing member dhut0042
Vinnie and Abraham by Dawn FitzGerald is a historical nonfiction informational book about the sculptress that was commissioned to complete an Abraham Lincoln memorial detailing the president holding the Emancipation Proclamation. The book is likely appropriate to be read to children grades K-5 and
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could probably be read by middle school students. The intent of the book, presenting the first female artist commissioned by the United States government, in the context of her professional relationship with Abraham Lincoln and her achievements I believe is wholly successful.
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(30 ratings; 4.5)
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