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School Library Journal
Gr 5-8- "Clinton's Ditch" could have just as easily been called "Hawley's Folly." For in 1807-1808, Jesse Hawley wrote 14 articles from his jail cell about his idea for a canal that would link the Hudson River and Lake Erie based on information about the Iroquois Great Central Trail. Too many factors were prohibitive during his time, though, so it was left for other visionaries to undertake the mission, beginning in 1817. With ease and grace, Kendall explains what a daunting task it was. Her style of writing is casual, and her turn of phrase is humorous at times. "Most projects begin at the beginning, but the Erie Canal began in the middle." She talks of those who worked the canal and the obstacles that they faced: mosquitoes, which almost ended the project, and rattlesnakes. One map shows the region in 1817 when the canal was begun and another shows it as it exists today, indicating the importance that the canal was to growth in the area. The illustrated material evolves from reproductions and drawings in the beginning of the book to black-and-white photographs in the discussion of current use at the end. This is a fascinating story that deserves to be told.-Sheila Fiscus, Our Lady of Peace School, Erie, PACopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.