- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted August 7, 2003
Lewis and Clark's historic journey through the Louisiana Purchase may have been cut short had it not been for the quick actions of an unpaid person with the group. Sacagawea rescued vital items--journals, gunpowder, medicines, and scientific instruments--from a boat when it nearly overturned. Author Lise Erdrich has done conscientious research on Sacagawea and tells her story with sensitivity and just enough brevity for children 8 to 13 years old. Younger children might enjoy the illustrations by Julie Buffalohead, but they may not have the attention span to sit through reading the entire story. The main illustrations are impressionistic and fill the pages. Smaller illustrations are done in pen and ink and enhance the descriptions. Erdrich tells the story of the young Shoshone girl captured by Hidatsa warriors and named Sacagawea or Bird Woman. After four years with the Hidatsa, Sacagawea was given in marriage to a French fur trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, who was at least 20 years older than the girl, estimated to be no more than 16. Charbonneau, described as 'wily,' offers to assist Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery as a guide and interpreter for the group. In reality, it is Sacagawea who is the interpreter. Sacagawea delivers her first child just before traveling with the Corps and carries her infant son on her back, in a cradleboard or wrapped in a shawl. She assisted Lewis and Clark in other ways, looking for plants to keep the crew healthy, digging for wild artichoke roots and gathering berries as they traveled. Erdrich retells touching moments when the Corps arrives at the Shoshone camp. She recognizes some of the people; among them is her brother, now the chief. The Corps continues on, all the way to the Pacific ocean, and Sacagawea insists on seeing the ocean herself. When the exploration party returns to St. Louis, Mo., they are greeted with cheers and celebrations, since no one believed they still survived. Sacagawea's life is more difficult to follow up on, and in the afterward, Erdrich tells about the differing theories on her death after the Corps of Discovery. The map and timeline at the back of the book are a nice addition for older children who would like a more visual review of the trip. The only thing missing might be a pronunciation guide for some of the other names such as Shoshone, Hidatsa, Charbonneau, and Nez Perce. And if there was any more question about how to spell Sacagawea, Erdrich clears it up for everyone in the preface. No matter how you spell Sacagawea, it's nice to learn about another strong woman in history.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.