Title: The Abraham Lincoln Joke BookThe Abraham Lincoln Joke Book
Author: Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
Illustrator: William Lahey Cummings
Pages: 80
Recommended Ages: 9 & up
Star Rating: ★★★★

When I first saw this book I thought that it would be a bunch of stupid jokes about Abraham Lincoln. You know the kind –

“What was the name of Lincoln’s wife?”

“Mrs. Lincoln”


But instead, this book focused on Lincoln’s own sense of humor – his peculiar aptitude for a funny tale and his ability to use humor to diffuse tense situations. Also included are a few of the jokes circulated about Lincoln during his own time. Here are a few examples.

“Lawyer Lincoln, so they say, was walking along a dusty road. Along came a farmer driving his wagon to town.

LINCOLN: Would you be good enough to take my overcoat to town for me?

FARMER: Glad to. But how will you get it back again?

LINCOLN: No trouble at all. I’m going to stay right inside it! [pg. 12]


When Lincoln was a lawyer, he tried to make peace between men. That was more important to him than making money.

Once he had to play a joke on someone in order to make peace. This is what happened:

A rich man who had just moved to Springfield wanted to sue a poor man who owed him two dollars and fifty cents. And the rich man wanted Lincoln to be his lawyer.

Lincoln tried to talk the rich man out of suing the poor man.

“If you won’t do the job for me,” said the man, “I’ll go to another lawyer.”

So Lincoln said he would take the case. “But you must pay my fee now,” said Lincoln. “Ten dollars.”

The rich man paid Lincoln the ten dollars.

Then Lincoln went to the poor man who owed the money. Lincoln gave the man five dollars and told him to come to court the next day and pay the money he owed.

The poor man came, paid the two dollars and fifty cents to the rich man, and everyone was happy:

The rich man had his revenge – he thought.

The poor man got some extra money.

Lincoln had five dollars left in payment for his trouble and time. [pg. 16-17]

What a humorous lesson on how the desire for revenge can blind us to our own best interests!

When Lincoln was a lawyer, two friends came to him and said:

“Lincoln, we want you to settle an argument for us. Tell us, exactly how long should a man’s legs be?”

Now one friend had very short legs.

The other friend had very long legs.

“Hmmmmm,” Lincoln said. “I never gave this matter much thought. But now that I think of it, I would say—–: Lincoln stopped.

He looked at the friend with short legs.

He looked at the friend with long legs.

“Well,” Lincoln went on, “I would say a man’s legs should be exactly long enough to reach from his body to the ground.” [pgs.24-25]

And who could argue with that?

Tall Mr. Lincoln picked a short woman to be his wife. And he liked to joke about that sometimes. A story about the Lincolns went like this:

Soon after Lincoln was elected President, a crowd gathered under his windows to serenade him. Then they called for Lincoln to come out and talk to them.

Lincoln stepped onto the balcony with his wife. He wanted to make his greeting short and sweet. So he simply said, “Here I am and here is Mrs. Lincoln. That’s the long and the short of it.” [pg. 28]

Gotta love a good pun!

It is said that President Lincoln was walking up Pennsylvania Avenue with Mr. Seward, Secretary of State. Mr. Seward pointed to a sign with the name T. R. STRONG.

“Ha!” said Lincoln. “T R Strong, but coffee are stronger.” [pg. 30]


A well-known man read aloud to President Lincoln some chapters from a book he was writing.

“Tell me, Mr. Lincoln,” said the man, “what do you think of my book?”

Lincoln didn’t think much of it. But he didn’t want to hurt the author’s feelings, so he said:

“Well, for those who like that sort of thing, I think it is just about the sort of thing they would like.” [pg. 61]

I need to just start saying that in all of my reviews.

A visitor asked Lincoln how many soldiers were in the Southern army.

“Twelve hundred thousand,” said the President slowly. “That is to say, one million, two hundred thousand.”

“Good heavens!” the visitor cried. “Impossible!”

“No doubt of it,” said Lincoln. “You see, when our generals lose a battle, they always say the enemy had at least three times as many men as we did. Now, we have 400,000 men in the field. And 3 times 4 makes 12. Don’t you see it?”

400,000 X 3 = 1,200,000

Isn’t it wonderful?

Conclusion. Wonderfully, wildly fun.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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