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WHO'D BELIEVE JOHN COLTER? by Mary Blount Christian


by Mary Blount Christian & illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: May 31st, 1993
ISBN: 0-02-718477-3
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

 Catalogued by LC as nonfiction and equipped with a lengthy source list, a lively account of one of Lewis and Clark's men: John Colter (1775?-1813), who's depicted here as a witty daredevil frontiersman so noted for tall tales that people found it hard to credit his reports of his considerable real exploits- -e.g., some bold escapes from the Blackfeet and the discovery of some of the West's boiling mudholes and geysers. Christian's narrative, however, larded as it is with clearly made-up dialogue and descriptions (``John took a deep breath and leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest in satisfaction''), reads like fiction; in the absence of qualifiers like ``must have,'' or ``perhaps,'' a scrupulous explanatory note would have been a real plus. Still, the author gives a more vividly detailed look at the Lewis and Clark expedition than the Roops offer in their excerpts of the explorers' own words (below), while Kubinyi's delicately crosshatched full-page drawings, recalling 19th-century engravings, contribute nicely to an inviting format. Not scholarly, but fun. (Biography. 7-11)