Thursday, February 28, 2013


A simple plan: break into Abraham Lincoln’s tomb, steal his corpse, hide the body, demand $200,000 and the release of convicted counterfeiter Benjamin Boyd as a ransom. Steve Sheinkin’s Lincoln’s Grave Robbers proves that fact is sometimes stranger than fiction. This true crime thriller details how the Secret Service was able to capture and convict master counterfeiter Boyd in 1875. With Boyd in jail, the supply of high-quality counterfeit money dried up, causing a real headache for criminals on the streets of Chicago. Several “coney men” were desperate to get Boyd out of jail and back to work. They concocted a wild plan to secure the release of the engraver from prison by snatching President Lincoln’s body. Fortunately, the Secret Service had an uncover snitch who helped them foil the plan.  

Sheinkin’s fascinating page-turner is perfect for middle school readers and pairs well with James Swanson’s Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. These two well-written books are excellent examples of how exciting narrative non-fiction can be. I hope Scholastic and other publishers will continue to publish these types of works as teachers try to encourage more non-fiction reading in the classroom. My only problem with Lincoln’s Grave Robbers is the cover, which is too dark and not eye-catching. Readers can easily overlook this great book on library or bookstore selves, which would be a real shame.  
4.5 out of 5 stars
Grades 5 and up 

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