New Found Land: Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery

New Found Land: Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery

3.6 3
by Allan Wolf
     
 

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"This amazing work presents the adventure of Lewis and Clark through the eyes of its participants." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)

In powerful, lyrical language, here is the journey of Lewis and Clark told by themselves and their diverse crew — from a one-eyed French-Indian fiddler to Clark’s African-American slave;

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Overview

"This amazing work presents the adventure of Lewis and Clark through the eyes of its participants." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)

In powerful, lyrical language, here is the journey of Lewis and Clark told by themselves and their diverse crew — from a one-eyed French-Indian fiddler to Clark’s African-American slave; from Sacagawea to Lewis’s Newfoundland dog, a "seer" whose narrative resonates long after the book is closed.

An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults

An International Reading Association Children’s Book Award Notable

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

A SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL Best Book of the Year

A Lion and the Unicorn Honor Winner for Excellence in North American Poetry

Two starred reviews (KIRKUS, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
SACAGAWEA

THE BIRD WOMAN

After my eleventh winter

I was kidnapped by our enemies

and made to be their slave.

My people, the Shoshone, were in hiding

in the Shining Mountains

at the place where three rivers become one.

In times of war, we never left the camp unescorted.

That day the young brave Split Feather

watched over my cousin and me.

Split Feather kept lookout from atop his horse

while we two girls crouched by a creek

mashing pah-see-goo roots with a heavy stone.

We were filled with hope. Spring had arrived.

We would soon return to the plains to hunt the buffalo.

Soon there would be skins to cover our tepees.

Soon there would be meat to fill our stomachs.

I was yet a young girl, but a strong one.

Cousin was older and due to marry Split Feather soon.

They brought joy to each other

and their union was a blessing to our family.

Long ago my father had promised me to Sitting Hawk,

an important Shoshone scout.

I was to become his wife,

but not until I reached womanhood.

Despite our hunger, Cousin and I were always laughing.

That day was no different.

She held her basket, filled with roots, against her stomach.

"Look, Watches the Sky," she said, joking.

"I am pregnant with many small children."

Even serious Split Feather cracked a smile.

Suddenly we heard the sound of the hawk.

It was Sitting Hawk, at watch in the forest,

signaling to the tribe that the enemy was near.

Every bird ceased its singing.

My cousin and I fell silent too.

We were still as the trees.

Split Feather raised his head to listen-

the high whine of a flying arrow.

The thud of arrow hitting flesh, cracking bone.

Split Feather’s chest erupted in blood;

his eyes were wide; he died instantly.

The arrow passed through him as if

his body had been river mist.

Cousin ran across the water and vanished

into the woods at the far side of the creek.

I remained crouching by the stream.

Try as I might, I could not move.

Split Feather slumped onto his horse.

His eyes, open in death, watched me.

His body slid to the ground.

A Hidatsa warrior broke through the thicket.

He sat high atop a white horse.

In his left hand he held the rein.

In his right hand he held a long battle club.

He gestured with the club as if to say,

Now bow your head — you are mine.

Instead I stood.

I remembered the rock in my hand.

And I hurled it.

I managed to hit him between the eyes.

The warrior’s expression was fear and surprise.

But then he smiled.

Blood streamed down his painted face,

across his white teeth.

He licked it from his lips,

his grin turning red.

As if in a dream I turned, like a doe, to leap

as the warrior on the white horse raised his club

and, still smiling,

brought it down

against my head.

GEORGE SHANNON

THE KID

I’m a talker.

My mom always said George,

if you were a blackberry,

you could talk your way out of a hungry bear’s mouth.

So I came to Pittsburgh to stay with Uncle Will

while I went to school to study the law.

At least that’s what my mother thinks.

The past few weeks I’ve been working

as an apprentice at the Tarascon Brothers Shipyard.

My plan was to eventually hop on a ship

bound for the open ocean.

I figure I can always become a lawyer later

but for now I want to live a little,

see the world,

get my feet wet.

Anybody can become a lawyer.

I want to become something special.

I want to accomplish

something that no one else can top.

I want to read my story in the history books.

Not like my father.

He worked like a dog doing ordinary things

and then he up and died just like that.

Well, that’s not for me.

Now, today down at the Green Tree Tavern

the boys are all talking about this officer

come to town to have a keelboat built

to sail himself on an expedition of discovery

to explore certain secret stretches of our great country

that no other civilized man has yet seen.

Well, that sounds like the boat George Shannon has been waiting for.

Publishers Weekly
First novelist Wolf tells the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition as an engrossing epic in blank verse, through the voices of 14 alternating narrators. "Not only are we to search out the Northwest Passage (should it exist);/ we are also now charged with determining/ the very boundaries of the United States of America," explains Meriwether Lewis to William Clark, when the latter accepts Lewis's invitation to "co-command" the legendary cross-country trek. Wolf assembles familiar participants, such as the two leaders; Clark's slave, York; and the Shoshone guide, Sacagawea; and also incorporates the fictionalized voice of Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman (the pooch confesses, "my true name is Oolum"). Teenaged George Shannon's monologues here work nicely in tandem with Kate McMullan's My Travels with Capts. Lewis and Clark by George Shannon (reviewed Sept. 20), and Oolum voices many of the journey's moments of beauty and insight, as when the Corps is poised to fight 400 Indians if necessary ("Everything fell silent, except for the hissing of the Missouri River, which would not be stopped"). Because of the shifts among perspectives, however, readers may be challenged to figure out when some of the characters joined the expedition (it's hard to discern just how Sacagawea comes into the fold, for instance). But Wolf's ear for verse (especially in many of Sacagawea's monologues: e.g., "Every night when I go to sleep/ the birds bring hope in their beaks") and strong sense of the dramatic keep the pages turning. History buffs and readers with an interest in Lewis and Clark will find much to savor. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The adventurous journey of Lewis & Clark remains one of the epic sagas of American history. Armed with little actual knowledge of the terrain, landscape, or people they would encounter, the "Corps of Discovery" set out to find a new world. After thousands of miles, deaths, and enormous effort, Lewis & Clark returned east with the remnants of their company. Using a free verse style, Wolf takes his readers on a journey of amazing complexity. Each character in this book appears on stage as a unique member of the broader group. The author uses a pet dog named Oolum as a sort of narrator who sets the stage for some of the key happenings en route. Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacagawea all appear as people possessing both strengths and weaknesses. Clashes of culture within the Corps of Discovery, revolving around slavery, economic differences, and differing opinions, are portrayed in a way that renders historical figures real. This is a wonderful book written in a daring format. While there is a limited number of readers interested in a lengthy novel in verse, this is a story that will appeal to serious-minded folk. Even though the audience for this novel may be limited, it is a book that successfully combines strong historical research with a poetic format. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 14 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck
KLIATT - KLIATT Review
This ALA Best Book for YAs is a novel; it is a book of poetry; it is a book of history; it is a tour de force. It is all of the above. Basing his work on the ample historical research available on the Lewis and Clark journey, Wolf has created 14 characters who speak to the reader individually, sometimes in prose, but more often in blank verse and occasionally in song. The main narrator is Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman, who tells us his secret name, Oolum, and comments on events with objectivity and humor. Wolf creates vivid personalities for each member of the Corps of Discovery so that individuals such as Shannon, the Field brothers, York and Cruzatte leap from the pages. Each character from the Corps is given a descriptive identifier so that each time he speaks, Lewis is "the explorer," Clark is "the gentleman," Drouillard is "the half-breed" and Hugh Hall is "the drinker." Sacagawea, "the bird woman," present in spirit from the beginning, is especially well drawn. Supplemental material includes a post-expedition history of the Corps members, a glossary, bibliographic suggestions and Internet sites. Most highly recommended. Age Range: Ages 12 to adult. REVIEWER: Patricia Moore (Vol. 42, No. 1)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This amazing work presents the exciting adventure of the Lewis and Clark expedition through the eyes of its participants. Using poetic form, Wolf tells the story in alternating narratives by a dozen of the human participants and Seaman, the Newfoundland dog belonging to Meriwether Lewis. The dog, called Oolum here, supposedly his private name, serves as the omniscient narrator. His prose entries provide a running description of and commentary on the events. Factual details abound, reflecting the intense research on which the book is based. But Wolf has managed to give intriguing, well-developed personalities to the Corps of Discovery members who tell this tale. The disparate group included educated men, adventurers, traders, a captured teenage Shoshone girl, and a slave belonging to William Clark. Talk of freedom from different points of view is enlightening as is Clark's rationalization for slavery. The dramatic effects of the expedition on the participants come to life as they share their experiences and thoughts with readers. The mind-boggling reality of what these people went through to explore and expand this nation instills appreciation for their sacrifices and accomplishments. In notes following the novel, Wolf describes the limited literary liberties he took with some of the details. For example, Thomas Jefferson's closing narrative includes reminiscences of a fictitious boyhood relationship with Lewis. This is an extraordinary, engrossing book that would appeal most to serious readers, but it should definitely be added to any collection.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the flood of volumes marking the bicentennial of the epic journey, Wolf manages something fresh and alive-a mammoth novel of poetic narratives in 14 voices that treats the trek to the Pacific and back as a drama of many players, many voices. Voices such as Sacagawea's sadness and longing, the spirited dialogues of the Field brothers, the chatty observations of 16-year-old George Shannon, William Clark's gentlemanly tone, his slave York's restrained commentaries, and the Newfoundland dog's sensory descriptions. Some characters are made up and the personalities of others are exaggerated for effect to bring readers right into the mind, heart, and soul of the crew. Abundant detail and sharply defined characters are the fruits of four years of research, represented by an excellent author's note, a fascinating "What Became of Them?" section, good maps, and a list of the crew and the Native American nations encountered. The volume's size may intimidate some readers, but this is a must for libraries, a treasure for classrooms. (expedition miscellany, bibliography, Internet resources, glossary) (Fiction. 10+)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763632885
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
09/11/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
548,839
Product dimensions:
6.58(w) x 9.04(h) x 1.29(d)
Lexile:
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

SACAGAWEA
THE BIRD WOMAN

After my eleventh winter
I was kidnapped by our enemies and made to be their slave.

My people, the Shoshone, were in hiding in the Shining Mountains at the place where three rivers become one.
In times of war, we never left the camp unescorted.
That day the young brave Split Feather watched over my cousin and me.
Split Feather kept lookout from atop his horse while we two girls crouched by a creek mashing pah-see-goo roots with a heavy stone.

We were filled with hope. Spring had arrived.
We would soon return to the plains to hunt the buffalo.
Soon there would be skins to cover our tepees.
Soon there would be meat to fill our stomachs.

I was yet a young girl, but a strong one.
Cousin was older and due to marry Split Feather soon.
They brought joy to each other and their union was a blessing to our family.
Long ago my father had promised me to Sitting Hawk,
an important Shoshone scout.
I was to become his wife,
but not until I reached womanhood.

Despite our hunger, Cousin and I were always laughing.
That day was no different.
She held her basket, filled with roots, against her stomach.
"Look, Watches the Sky," she said, joking.
"I am pregnant with many small children."
Even serious Split Feather cracked a smile.

Suddenly we heard the sound of the hawk.
It was Sitting Hawk, at watch in the forest,
signaling to the tribe that the enemy was near.

Every bird ceased its singing.
My cousin and I fell silent too.
We were still as the trees.
Split Feather raised his head to listen-

the high whine of a flying arrow.
The thud of arrow hitting flesh, cracking bone.
Split Feather’s chest erupted in blood;
his eyes were wide; he died instantly.
The arrow passed through him as if his body had been river mist.

Cousin ran across the water and vanished into the woods at the far side of the creek.
I remained crouching by the stream.
Try as I might, I could not move.
Split Feather slumped onto his horse.
His eyes, open in death, watched me.
His body slid to the ground.

A Hidatsa warrior broke through the thicket.
He sat high atop a white horse.
In his left hand he held the rein.
In his right hand he held a long battle club.
He gestured with the club as if to say,
Now bow your head — you are mine.

Instead I stood.
I remembered the rock in my hand.
And I hurled it.
I managed to hit him between the eyes.
The warrior’s expression was fear and surprise.

But then he smiled.
Blood streamed down his painted face,
across his white teeth.
He licked it from his lips,
his grin turning red.
As if in a dream I turned, like a doe, to leap as the warrior on the white horse raised his club and, still smiling,
brought it down against my head.

GEORGE SHANNON

THE KID

I’m a talker.

My mom always said George,
if you were a blackberry,
you could talk your way out of a hungry bear’s mouth.
So I came to Pittsburgh to stay with Uncle Will while I went to school to study the law.
At least that’s what my mother thinks.
The past few weeks I’ve been working as an apprentice at the Tarascon Brothers Shipyard.
My plan was to eventually hop on a ship bound for the open ocean.
I figure I can always become a lawyer later but for now I want to live a little,
see the world,
get my feet wet.

Anybody can become a lawyer.
I want to become something special.
I want to accomplish something that no one else can top.

I want to read my story in the history books.

Not like my father.
He worked like a dog doing ordinary things and then he up and died just like that.
Well, that’s not for me.

Now, today down at the Green Tree Tavern the boys are all talking about this officer come to town to have a keelboat built to sail himself on an expedition of discovery to explore certain secret stretches of our great country that no other civilized man has yet seen.
Well, that sounds like the boat George Shannon has been waiting for.

Read More

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