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A Boy’s Visit to the Great Mound City

by Albert Lorenz with Joy Schleh & illustrated by Albert Lorenz & Joy Schleh

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-8109-5047-2
Publisher: Abrams

With a perfunctory plotline, but careful attention to visual detail, the authors take a downriver journey with a prehistoric trading expedition, from the site of present-day Detroit to the bustling Mississippi metropolis that was, until the 19th century, North America’s largest. Young Little Hawk happily joins his father Red Earth, canoeing past long, mysterious mounds, evading raiders, listening to stories, arriving at last at Cahokia (a modern name, though Little Hawk uses it), where he witnesses a game of lacrosse (ditto) and a ceremony on the massive earth pyramid before packing up for the return trip. Lorenz and Schleh mix color photos of surviving artifacts with painted scenes of smiling, buckskin-clad people (the men sporting elaborate tattoos and ’do’s), pulling back for an expanded view of the city’s entire layout as it has been reconstructed by archaeologists, and tracing Little Hawk’s trip on a map. Inspired by an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, this makes an absorbing cultural, if not literary, journey. (afterword, bibliography) (Fiction. 8-10)