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A Dog’s Tale

by Laurie Myers & illustrated by Michael Dooling

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8050-6368-4
Publisher: Henry Holt

Lewis and Clark’s famous journey began in 1803. Their objective: to explore the territory west of the Mississippi River and report back to President Thomas Jefferson. With them was Meriwether Lewis’s dog, Seaman, the narrator of this story for young readers. And, it turns out, Seaman is a good storyteller. It really does feel as if a dog is relating the tale, with such canine details as why dogs twitch when they dream and the abundant sensory impressions of a trip through the wilderness. Young readers will find themselves learning a lot of history and will come to think of Seaman as a regular member of the crew. In fact, by the end of the journey, according to the actual journals the men kept, the men too accepted Seaman as part of their outfit: “Captain Lewis’s dog” had become “our dog” by the end of the trek. The dog’s-eye view is well done and refreshing, excerpts from Lewis’s actual journal enliven the text, and Dooling’s beautiful oil paintings seem just right, as full of action, beauty, danger, and majesty as the land they portray. The volume feels like a journal, and the attractive design—with a good map and lots of white space—works well. An afterword offers additional information about the actual dog. Young lovers of history and dog stories will appreciate a volume that provides both. (Fiction. 8-12)