Cover image for Mr. Lincoln's way
Mr. Lincoln's way
Polacco, Patricia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 x 22 cm
When Mr. Lincoln, "the coolest principal in the whole world, " discovers that Eugene, the school bully, knows a lot about birds, he uses this interest to help Eugene overcome his intolerance.
Reading Level:
450 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.7 0.5 53459.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.2 2 Quiz: 26333 Guided reading level: M.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
Clarence Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Eggertsville-Snyder Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Frank E. Merriweather Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Orchard Park Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
East Delavan Branch Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Mr. Lincoln is the coolest principal ever! He knows how to do everything, from jumping rope to leading nature walks. Everyone loves him. . . except for Eugene Esterhause. "Mean Gene" hates everyone who's different. He's a bully, a bad student, and he calls people awful, racist names. But Mr. Lincoln knows that Eugene isn't really bad-he's just repeating things he's heard at home. Can the principal find a way to get through to "Mean Gene" and show him that the differences between people are what make them special?

With Patricia Polacco's trademark illustrations and gentle text, Mr. Lincoln's Way celebrates the unforgettable school principal who touches the lives of his students and truly empowers them.

Author Notes

Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography.

After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything.

Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature. Her titles The Art of Miss. Chew and The Blessing Cup made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5pal ever, except in the mind of Eugene "Mean Gene" Esterhause, a bully of legendary proportions. Certain that Gene is only troubled (rather than rotten to the core), Mr. Lincoln sets out quietly to discover Gene's strengths (he is an avid bird watcher) and enlists his help in creating a bird sanctuary for the school. The principal also learns the source of Gene's racial intolerance and makes some important strides toward reversing the boy's prejudices. This story is vintage Polacco--a multicultural neighborhood setting, a cast of believable characters (some larger than life), and a satisfying ending guaranteed to bring tears to even hard-boiled cynics. Polacco's signature watercolor illustrations take on springtime hues here; they're especially apparent in Mr. Lincoln's bright pink shirts and ties. An excellent choice for storyhours, this should prompt some interesting discussions about bullies and their motivations. --Kay Weisman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Everyone thinks Eugene "Mean Gene" Esterhause, the school bully, is trouble "with a capital T." Everyone but Mr. Lincoln, that is, "the coolest principal in the whole world," who is determined to reach the boy after he's caught calling an African-American first-grader a racist name. Mr. Lincoln enlists Eugene's help in attracting birds to the school's new atrium, a project the fourth grader embraces with enthusiasm. Nevertheless, he again makes racist remarks and lands in the principal's office ("My old man calls you real bad names, Mr. Lincoln. He's got an ugly name for just about everybody that's different from us," the boy says to the African-American principal). Mr. Lincoln points out a heavy-handed parallel the diversity of the birds that Eugene loves. Mr. Lincoln helps free the boy from intolerance, just as Eugene finds a way to free the baby ducklings and their parents from the atrium so they can reach the pond outside. Polacco's (Thank You, Mr. Falker) artwork is assured, from the carefully delineated birds to the expressive faces of her characters, but the intertwining themes result in a thumping message and a too-tidy solution. Ages 6-9. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-In her many books, Polacco has dealt sensitively with a broad spectrum of circumstances and issues. Here she tackles both intolerance and bullying. Mr. Lincoln is the "coolest" principal: he is Santa at Christmas, lights the menorah at Chanukah, and wears a dashiki for Kwanza and a burnoose for Ramadan. The author chronicles his attempt to reclaim "Mean Gene," a child who sasses his teachers, picks on other children, and makes ethnic slurs. "`He's not a bad boy, really,' Mr. Lincoln said. `Only troubled.'" However, the distinction is not clarified. When the principal discovers that the boy is fond of birds, he capitalizes on this interest. He involves him in attracting the creatures to the school atrium while at the same time showing him that just as the differences in the birds render them beautiful, so do the differences in people. While the theme is an important and timely one, Polacco has allowed her message to overwhelm both plot and character development. The story emerges as didactic, laden with heavy-handed metaphor, and too simplistic a solution to a deep-rooted problem. The book may be useful to schools in need of a springboard for discussion of the topic and is graced with impressive watercolors, but it is not up to the author's usual literary standards.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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