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Sheinkin, Steve. Lincolns Grave Robbers.
1 January 2013, Scholastic
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Who knew that grave robbers would be motivated to steal Lincoln's corpse because of the incarceration of a major counterfeiter? When master engraver and very active criminal Benjamin Boyd is sent away for making bogus plates, business is bad for his boss, "Big Jim" Kennally. Since the other bills being made are easily found out, he's not able to sell as many of them for as high a price, so he concocts another scheme-- he will hire a team of men to steal Lincoln's body, dump it near a lake, and then Big Jim, with a solid alibi for the time the body is stolen, will find the body and ask for a big ransom. He puts together a team which includes a man working with federal detectives. (Did you know that the Secret Service was started to deal with counterfeiters, and that it took the assassination attempts on three presidents before anyone thought to guard them?) The thieves run into a variety of problems, but manage to escape after a botched attempt at Lincoln's tomb. They are rounded up in the end, and Lincoln's body is placed under somewhat better safeguards... eventually!
Strengths: While I haven't had a chance to read Bomb yet, I'm sure it's great, because Sheinkin can spin a historical tale and make it interesting. Grave robbers, counterfeit money-- all great stuff. This has an easy narrative quality that makes nonfiction go down easily. Pictures and a complete bibliography at the back make this a must have.
Weaknesses: It was very difficult to keep all of the characters straight, although there is a nice list at the beginning of the book. The problem with digital books is that it is SO hard to flip back to this list. Also, on the E ARC, there were some problems with turning pages when the next one contained a picture.
It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts. Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for the 4th through 8th grader. It's also Nonfiction Monday, hosted this week at NC Teacher Stuff.