Despite All Obstacles: La Salle and the Conquest of the Mississippi (Great Explorers Book Series)

Despite All Obstacles: La Salle and the Conquest of the Mississippi (Great Explorers Book Series)

by Joan Elizabeth Goodman, Tom McNeely
     
 

To say that Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle was determined is like saying the sun is warm. La Salle made his way from Eastern Canada to the Great Lakes. Then he traveled by canoe down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. This vast territory was dense unexplored wilderness, controlled by the fierce and powerful Iroquois. To make the merely daunting nearly

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Overview

To say that Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle was determined is like saying the sun is warm. La Salle made his way from Eastern Canada to the Great Lakes. Then he traveled by canoe down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. This vast territory was dense unexplored wilderness, controlled by the fierce and powerful Iroquois. To make the merely daunting nearly impossible, La Salle was on his own. His King, Louis X1V, would provide neither protection, men nor money.

Through one setback after another, La Salle kept on going. His men deserted him; he walked a thousand miles, in the middle of the brutal Canadian winter, back to Montreal and organized a new expedition. The Iroquois threatened; he brought together rival tribes, and speaking in their own language, united them into an alliance against the Iroquois. La Salle's ship sunk with a fortune in furs meant to finance his expedition. Again, he walked back to Montreal and found new financial support.

Part adventure, part biography, Despite All Obstacles is the fascinating story of this obstinate and courageous man who had dreams as large as the continent and a will to match those dreams.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Carolyn Phelan
Well-designed book ... smoothly written text ... Full-page or double-page paintings, often handsome and dramatic, brighten most spreads in this fully illustrated book.
ForeWord - Linda Sailsbury
An outstanding resource book for homes, classrooms, and libraries.
Linda Sailsbury
An outstanding resource book for homes, classrooms, and libraries.
ForeWord
Publishers Weekly
The latest installment in the Great Explorers series, Despite All Obstacles: La Salle and the Conquest of the Mississippi, by Joan Elizabeth Goodman and illus. by Tom McNeely, traces the life and journeys of the intrepid French explorer Ren-Robert Cavelier, better known as La Salle. McNeely's watercolors effectively evoke the frontier landscape, and a cleverly designed fold-out map allows readers to follow expedition routes alongside each page of text. ( Dec.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The story of Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle, who overcomes daunting challenges to explore the Mississippi, reads like an adventure tale. But it's a true story based on chronicles written by men who accompanied LaSalle on his expeditions. When LaSalle's yearning to go to China was thwarted, he sought the next best opportunity in the wilds of Canada. His dreams of China continued and when he heard tales of a great, winding river leading to the sea, he hoped it would lead west to the Pacific, providing a passage to China. Even after he learned it emptied southward into the Gulf of Mexico, he continued with his plan to explore, facing incredible obstacles. After each failure, he picked himself up and continued toward his goal. Finally he reached the mouth of the Mississippi and formally took possession of all the area bordering the Mississippi for the king of France. This book more than fills the Mikaya Press goal of offering a "compelling narrative that grabs, holds and delights the reader." Not only is the book well written, with gripping true tales to make the story come alive, it is beautifully illustrated and designed. A map of his journeys in the front of the book folds out to the left to be kept open for reference while the reader follows the story. In the margins are intriguing quotes from speeches, letters and accounts written in LaSalle's time. An epilogue describes what happened to the territory he claimed for France, along with a map of the United States showing its early divisions. An index is included. 2001, Mikaya Press, $19.95. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer:Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-In this smooth, well-written, and fact-filled title, Goodman traces the life of La Salle from his birth in Rouen, France, through his historic adventures down the Mississippi. Excerpts from letters, diaries, and journals of the man and his contemporaries are sprinkled throughout the book and will be a bonus for those who need original documents. While the author acknowledges that "Many of the sources quoted in this book were written by men hired to join La Salle's expedition as chroniclers," there is no bibliography. McNeely's masterly full- and double-page paintings of the participants in the adventure depict the costumes and accoutrements of the era. A clear, easy-to-follow map of La Salle's voyages appears in gatefold form in the beginning of the book; unfortunately, it may be overlooked by some readers. Nonetheless, this attractive picture-book biography would make a good choice for libraries.-Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The grand subtitle might overreach a bit, but then, so did La Salle. Goodman (Bernard Goes to School, p. 1122, etc.) presents a memorable portrait of this incurable hustler, whose astonishing physical hardiness and unshakable optimism got him through one disastrous enterprise after another. Seen as a restless man with more vision than organizational or people skills, La Salle was at last murdered by his own men-but not before traveling the length of the Mississippi (and, more than once, walking back to Canada after being abandoned by companions), losing several fortunes, claiming the Louisiana Territory for King Louis XIV (who didn't want it), and forging an alliance of Miami, Abenaki, and Mohicans against the aggressive Iroquois. Enhancing a scattering of sidebar quotes, McNeely's 19th-century-style tableaux add a vivid sense of period, depicting the rugged explorer in buckskins, or elegant 17th-century dress, surrounded by fascinated French courtiers or trekking through snowy woods with his loyal Shawnee servant Nika. A foldout map allows young readers to trace La Salle's journeys as they read. Despite the lack of source or resource notes, this lively biography sits a good cut above standard school assignment fare. (Biography. 9-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781931414012
Publisher:
Mikaya Press
Publication date:
10/06/2001
Series:
Great Explorers Series
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
636,049
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)
Lexile:
980L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

Joan Elizabeth Goodman is the author of Beyond the Sea of Ice, and A Long and Uncertain Journey, the first two books in the Great Explorer series. She lives in New York City.

Tom McNeely is one of Canada's leading illustrators and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communications. He lives in Toronto.

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