Gr 3-5-Beginning with details of each explorer's early life, these slim biographies also cover his adventures and discoveries; the hardships, challenges, and obstacles he faced; and his contributions. Unfortunately, the texts tend toward oversimplification and the writing is pedestrian. For example, while it is true that Bridger's work contributed to opening the West, the statement "By- 1868, many people could travel through the West because of Bridger's explorations" ignores the contributions of many others, including Fr mont. Each book includes a time line that places the man and his achievements in historical context, a map detailing travel routes and expeditions, sidebars, and a summary of accomplishments. The covers give the appearance of antique leather-bound books while inside pages are framed with brown and gold borders. Captioned archival photos and colorful reproductions complete these visually pleasing but unexciting packages.-Susan Shaver, Hemingford Public Schools, NE Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.