Gr 3-6-Based on William Clark's account, this fictionalized story is told from the perspective of three Lakota boys who are first to sight the Corps of Discovery expedition's boats on the river. Although the youngsters' tribe has had contact with traders, there is no interpreter present, and misunderstandings arise since both sides have to rely on the limited translation skills of one of the Corp's boatmen. The visit is fraught with uneasiness, weapons are drawn, and violence seems imminent. The tension eases with the appearance of the large black dog, Seaman, and the friendliness of the expedition's lone African American, York. The Lakota are relieved to see the boats sail on, but feel frustrated and uneasy with the encounter. Cloud asks his father why the Americans were so angry, and the man wisely responds: "Because we were in their way." Farnsworth's lovely oil paintings, executed in dusty browns and autumn hues, strongly support the text. The author succeeds in portraying the anxious discomfort of the confrontation, but her poignant message is shoehorned into the picture-book format and the overall effect is at times muddled and unengaging. This book would be most helpful as a thoughtful supplement to units on the Lewis and Clark expedition.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Well known for telling stories from a Native American perspective, Sneve tells one based on an entry straight from the pages of Captain William Clark's journal. Three Lakota Sioux boys swim the river to come to the Corps of Discovery's camp. While the boys are part of history, their part of the journal ends at that point, but Sneve adds them to the rest of the story. The Corps stayed in the area for four more days, and at the time, the tribe controlled the trade to the north and the tribal leaders were used to a system of trade that the Corps did not recognize. A historical note says that the encounter almost ended in bloodshed and explains the difficulties. Farnsworth's oil paintings put the setting in the early 1800s and depict the landscape, the Native Americans and the explorers in an accurate and respectful manner. While the text is lengthy, Sneve fans will not be disappointed. All in all an offering that stands alone in its depiction of one segment of the Lewis and Clark journey. (Picture book. 8-10)