LEWIS AND CLARK by Steven Kroll


Explorers of the American West
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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 The story of Lewis and Clark's 1804 exploration west of the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean abounds with elements relevant to our own time. Chronicling the plants and animals they saw, Lewis and Clark made among the first ecological observations of the land. They were white men encountering Native Americans and beginning- -albeit unknowingly--a difficult, deceit-ridden relationship that continues to this day. While the picture-book format and target reading level limit Kroll (By the Dawn's Early Light, p. 69, etc.) from expounding on his story in any great detail, he might have at least alluded to his subjects' wider significance. Instead, his delivery of Lewis and Clark's journey is flat, monochromatic, and stinting on details about which kids will wonder: ``In the event they ran out of food, [Lewis] had brought a thick, gooey `portable soup.' '' Neat name, what was in it? ``The Corps spent four tense days with [the Teton Sioux].'' Well, what happened? Similarly undynamic are the poses and facial expressions in Williams's oils: Even in action scenes--such as when the men haul their canoes through rapids--the figures look stiff and blank, with only a bit lip driving the idea of exertion home. This is a rich subject, but get a good encyclopedia entry and some reference-book art and create your own, more compelling treatment for your kids. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0-8234-1034-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1994


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