A Picture Book of Sacagawea

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Issuance of the Sacagawea dollar has increased an awareness of her role in the exploration of the west. This appealing picture book tells her story and brings alive an interesting chapter of American history. 2000, Holiday House, Inc., $16.95. Ages 8 to 10. Reviewer: A. Braga SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
With the introduction of the new Sacagawea one dollar coin, it is not surprising that Adler would write a picture book biography of this Native American woman who was such a part of the explorations of Lewis and Clark. As with his other books in the picture book biography series, he offers children a look at the life of an important person in the history of the United States. He uses text that is uncomplicated and simple enough for seven-year-olds, yet sophisticated enough to still interest nine to ten-year-olds. Perhaps it is the personal bias of this reviewer, but some questions need to be raised about this particular book. In presenting Sacagawea as an important figure in American history, no mention is made about the effects that the Lewis and Clark Expedition had on the lives of the Native American people who were so trusting of these explorers. Without the help of Sacagawea, it is possible that their mission would not have been successful, but one statement with a quote from Clark's journal says, "that seeing Sacagawea convinced these people of our friendly intentions." It appears that she was "used" and exploited by the explorers. Some recognition of the future sorrow to be faced by the Native Americans should have been acknowledged. At another point in the text, Adler states that Toussaint Charbonneau, the white trader, bought Sacagawea as his second wife, yet in the author's note, he states that according to some sources, Charbonneau won her in a game of chance. To his credit, in the author's note, Adler does acknowledge the existence of another theory of the event. How many children ever read the author's note? Brown's illustrations are less than engaging and do not correspondclosely with the text. On the page with Charbonneau's "purchase" of Sacagawea and the description of Charbonneau as a "rough, loud man," the illustration portrays the "purchase" as a solemn, happy occasion. Charbonneau is depicted in trader's clothes, but with a soft, almost loving expression on his face. Other depictions throughout the book are not realistic and border on being stereotypical. Unless one has made the decision to purchase all the books in the "Picture Book Biography" series, this one should be examined as to its potential distortion of the life of Sacagawea and the events that surrounded her experience with Lewis and Clark on their westward exploration. The timeline of Sacagawea's life and the recommended books for further reading are beneficial. 2000, Holiday House, Ages 5 to 10, $16.95. Reviewer: Jenny B. (J. B.) Petty
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-In this brief biography, Adler decribes how Sacagawea was kidnapped at the age of 10 or 11 by an enemy tribe, was sold as a second wife to a rough white trader and trapper who served as an interpreter on the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific, and assisted the expedition through her quick thinking and ability to communicate with other tribes. Unfortunately, none of the horror of her situation-being captured, her family murdered, her forced marriage-comes through in the straightforward text. Brown's illustrations are often at odds with the historical setting. The art is pure Hollywood, particularly the reunion between Sacajawea and her brother, with the young woman fully made up with lipstick and eye makeup. Faces are static, figures are awkwardly posed, and action scenes lack movement. Young readers may be interested in learning about the remarkable woman who graces the new dollar coin, but this story doesn't do her justice.-Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Adler is the author of the wide-ranging and market-savvy Picture Book Biography series that now tops 25 titles. Here he focuses on his first Native American figure, the Shoshone woman Sacagawea, the only woman in the Lewis and Clark Louisiana Purchase "Corps of Discovery." Adler's reliable no-nonsense approach is inclusive enough to satisfy most second- through third-grade biography readers' needs, but those seeking inspiration or validation will need to look elsewhere. Most of the familiar elements of Sacagawea's life are here: the approximate place and date of birth; death of her mother in a raid by a rival tribe; her marriage to a French trapper Charbonneau; joining the expedition with her husband; the birth of her son Jean Baptiste; her ability to communicate with other native peoples; her wide ranging knowledge of edible plants; etc. Unfortunately, Adler's prose style is flat-footed. Even when recounting some of the more interesting bits (the fact that she carried her son on a cradleboard throughout most of the expedition; an unexpected reunion with her brother; how she saved the expedition's medicines in a canoeing accident), the text communicates neither excitement nor pride of purpose. Brown's awkward watercolor art can't rescue this from mundane. The cover and interior depictions of a sweet-faced, pig-tailed adult Sacagawea are greeting-card bland, and most figure groups are awkwardly composed. A barely additional purchase. (Picture book biography. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823416653
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Series: Picture Book Biography Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 475,227
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: AD800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David Adler

David A. Adler lives in Woodmere, New York. Joy Allen lives in Cameron Park, California.

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