The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe

The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe

4.4 37
by Roland Smith
     
 

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Born the runt of his litter and gambled away to a rusty old riverman, the Newfoundland pup Seaman doesn’t imagine his life will be marked by any kind of glory—beyond chasing down rats. But when he meets Captain Meriwether Lewis, Seaman finds himself on a path that will make history. Lewis is just setting off on his landmark search for the Northwest Passage, and

Overview

Born the runt of his litter and gambled away to a rusty old riverman, the Newfoundland pup Seaman doesn’t imagine his life will be marked by any kind of glory—beyond chasing down rats. But when he meets Captain Meriwether Lewis, Seaman finds himself on a path that will make history. Lewis is just setting off on his landmark search for the Northwest Passage, and he takes Seaman along. Sharing the curiosity and strength of spirit of his new master, Seaman proves himself a valuable companion at every turn. Part history, part science—and adventure through and through—The Captain’s Dog is the carefully researched, thrilling tale of America’s greatest journey of discovery, as seen through the keen, compassionate eyes of a remarkable dog.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In addition to Girl of the Shining Mountains (reviewed above), which gives Sacagawea's perspective on Lewis and Clark's exploration, Smith's (Thunder Cave; Jaguar) historical novel imagines the duo's epic 1804-1806 journey through the eyes of Captain Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman. The novel opens in 1808, when two former members of the expedition discover Seaman living with Nez Perce Indians; one of them presents the pair with Lewis's red-leather journal, rescued by Seaman. This opening framework may be mechanical, but the novel eventually hits its stride: as the traders read aloud the entries (actual text from Lewis's journals), they trigger Seaman's flashbacks. The canine's perspective, both fresh and original, is most effective in objectively relating a diverse array of customs and tribes. The narration strikes a note of humor, too, especially when Seaman offers insight into a dog's life: "Dogs know humans better than they will ever know us." Seaman's voice, however, does not adhere to a canine purview as cannily as Henrietta Branford's recent Fire, Bed and Bone, and the narrative occasionally lapses into admonishment (e.g., when Lewis berates himself for his failed iron boat scheme, Seaman mentally recounts the man's resume of accomplishments). An author's note offers little historical perspective on the expedition, but readers may well leave with a thirst for more of Lewis and Clark's adventures. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Laura Hummel
Traveling with the Lewis and Clark expedition, Seaman recounts the incredible journey and describes fellow travelers in great detail. He is particularly fond of Sacagawea and other members the "tribe," although he was actually owned by Captain Lewis. Seaman, a large Newfoundland dog, spent many hours during the journey observing the unusual behavior of humans. He was so astounded by their pitiful noses and useless ear appendages that he took it upon himself to serve sentry duty and he delighted in watching the men stumble about when he signaled danger. Seaman guided the starving men to game and saved one of his friends from an attacking bear. He is protected by White Feather, his spirit guide, and tells about the various Native American tribes encountered along the way. Seaman's text is accompanied by "scratchings" done by Lewis in a diary he uses to record the progress and failings of the expedition. Roland displays his expertise as a wolf and canine biologist as he relates the historical information from the dog's point of view in a realistic manner that is often tinted with humor, adventure, and emotion. Children and dog lovers will delight in this refreshing perspective on such an important part of American history.
ALAN Review
Here's a delightful twist. The story of Lewis and Clark's search for the Northwest Passage is told from the viewpoint of Seaman, Captain Lewis' dog. The story begins with the reunion of five members of Louis and Clark's famous group, plus Seaman. As they gather around the fire the night of their reunion, one of their members, Watkuweis, reveals a pleasant surprise--the red leather bound journal of Captain Merriweather Lewis. From there, this fascinating tale of sacrifice and courage is told through the vivid written accounts of their long ago journey across the country to the Pacific Ocean. The travelers retell tales of surviving raging rivers, attacking grizzly bears, invading tribes, raging hunger, and bitter cold. Through all, the reader is introduced to Native American history and American folklore. Especially fascinating is when Lewis and Clark greet native tribes with messages of peace and goodwill from their Great White Father, President Thomas Jefferson. Although lengthy, this novel is geared for young adults because this adventurous tale of loss and hope is told through the eyes of Lewis and Clark's trusty dog. An excellent addition to a history unit about America's pioneer beginnings, and as a complement to Stephen Ambrose's award-winning account of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Undaunted Courage. Genre: Adventure/History. 1999, Harcourt Brace, Ages 12 up, $17.00. Reviewer: J. Elaine White
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's review of the hardcover edition: Captain Meriwether Lewis' Newfoundland dog tells his version of the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Purchased in Pittsburgh by Lewis, Seaman the dog was so named because he was born on a ship on the Atlantic—and because Lewis planned for him to see the Pacific. Seaman sets out with the Corps of Discovery in search of the Northwest Passage, encountering adventures of various kinds along the way as they study unfamiliar flora and fauna and befriend local tribes. In brief chapters prefaced by entries purportedly from the Captain's private log, Seaman tells of meeting Indians and grizzlies, fighting off wolves and befriending Sacagawea. Students familiar with the story of Lewis and Clark may appreciate this fictional fleshing out of their historical journey. Smith, a former wolf biologist, is sensitive to the dog's view of the world. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1999, Harcourt/Gulliver Books, 290p,18cm, 99-25608, $6.00. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This is the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition as witnessed by Seaman, the massive Newfoundland dog that accompanied the two captains. Faithful to their original diaries, the novel brings to life the day-to-day challenges faced by the team charged with the task of exploring the American West and searching for the legendary Northwest Passage. Action and adventure abound: frequent attacks by grizzly bears and voracious mosquitoes, arduous crossings of nearly impassable landscapes, mutiny and desertion, and close encounters with both friendly and hostile Indians. However, while Seaman's narration is inventive, Smith has difficulty sustaining it, mainly because the dog is such a minor player in the momentous events that he describes. His point of view often seems too omniscient and introspective, resulting in a narrative that sounds uncomfortably human. Only when he recalls a purely canine memory such as marking trees does he snap readers back to the realization that this storyteller is indeed four-legged. Still, this occasional awkwardness does not diminish the scope and power of this entertaining introduction to an episode of American history rarely celebrated in fiction. For another novel about Seaman and his role in the expedition, look to Gail Langer Karwoski's Seaman (Peachtree, 1999), a lively account in which this brave animal is a much more central character.-William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Fresh and original.”—Publishers Weekly
“Action and adventure abound . . . [An] entertaining introduction to an episode of American history rarely celebrated in fiction.”—School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780613299008
Publisher:
Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
Publication date:
08/28/2000
Pages:
291
Product dimensions:
4.33(w) x 7.14(h) x 1.03(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Fresh and original.”—Publishers Weekly“Action and adventure abound . . . [An] entertaining introduction to an episode of American history rarely celebrated in fiction.”—School Library Journal

Meet the Author

Roland Smith is a former zookeeper and leading expert on red wolves as well as an author. He lives on a small farm near Portland, Oregon.

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The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 37 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seaman is a Newfoundland pup, the smallest of the litter. He thinks his life will never be exciting until Captain Meriwether Lewis buys him from an old riverman. He joins the corps of discovery and his existence becomes a blast! Read this electrifying story to find out the rest!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Captain's dog is a historical fiction novel about the Lewis and Clarck expedition really captured my attention for it was dictated by Lewis' dog, Seaman.This is the first time I have read a book from a canine's point of view.Seaman is a Newfounland pup the smallest of the litter.He thinks his life will never be exciting until Captain Meriwether Lewis buys him from an old riverman.He joins the Corps of discovery
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, Seaman tells the story of his adventures on the expedition. He was born the runt of his litter and for him things seem like it`s just going to always be boring, That is, until he`s bought by Meriwether Lewis. Then his life turns into an exiting adventure full of fun and fleas. It`s a great book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book, The Captain¿s Dog: My Journey With the Lewis and Clark Tribe, was a fast-moving book told in an interesting point of view, a dog¿s. Although not always historically accurate about forks in rivers and exact dates, dipction of aniamls, scenary, and Native Americans was most of the time accurate. Some strong language, but not overwhelming for sixth grade. The diffcult story line, and details including in this book are both hard to follow, but one that needs to be read again to get the full effect of the expedtion. This book, is a suprisingly wonderful novel the second time around when small details link throughout the book. Some opinions expressed in the book are also fictional, and are not historically accurate. When studying the Lewis and Clark expedtion, this book would make, an excellent resource to help for better understanding of the Lewis and Clark expedtion.
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Love it! Lots of adventure!
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