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Children's LiteratureThis is an impressive book with informative sidebars and magnificent illustrations including archival artwork, maps, and additional drawings by Francis Back. Champlain was born in the small seaport town of Brouage on the coast of France almost one hundred years after the voyage of Christopher Columbus to America. As a young man he served in the military during a time of war and when peace was declared he was able to go to Spain and sail from there to the Caribbean. Upon his return to France he was hired by a fur trader who took Champlain on his first voyage to Canada. Canada was the new frontier and Champlain longed to return. When the king of France supported the idea of a colony in Canada, Champlain's talent as a cartographer led the commander of an expedition, Pierre de Monts, to take the young man on the voyage. The colony of Arcadia was established, but the hardships discouraged many and the expedition was ordered to return to France. Champlain returned to Canada as a leader in 1603 and established a settlement at Québec. The book explores the relationship with the people of the Native nations and gives an interesting portrait of Champlain. The list of additional reading includes books written by the explorer and there is also a listing of historic sites. 2004 (orig. 1986), Tundra, Ages 9 to 12.
—Carolyn Mott Ford