DESPITE ALL OBSTACLES by Joan Elizabeth Goodman


La Salle and the Conquest of the Mississippi
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 12
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The grand subtitle might overreach a bit, but then, so did La Salle. Goodman (Bernard Goes to School, p. 1122, etc.) presents a memorable portrait of this incurable hustler, whose astonishing physical hardiness and unshakable optimism got him through one disastrous enterprise after another. Seen as a restless man with more vision than organizational or people skills, La Salle was at last murdered by his own men—but not before traveling the length of the Mississippi (and, more than once, walking back to Canada after being abandoned by companions), losing several fortunes, claiming the Louisiana Territory for King Louis XIV (who didn’t want it), and forging an alliance of Miami, Abenaki, and Mohicans against the aggressive Iroquois. Enhancing a scattering of sidebar quotes, McNeely’s 19th-century–style tableaux add a vivid sense of period, depicting the rugged explorer in buckskins, or elegant 17th-century dress, surrounded by fascinated French courtiers or trekking through snowy woods with his loyal Shawnee servant Nika. A foldout map allows young readers to trace La Salle’s journeys as they read. Despite the lack of source or resource notes, this lively biography sits a good cut above standard school assignment fare. (Biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-931414-01-7
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Firefly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2001


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