The Great Expedition of Lewis and Clark: By Private Reubin Field, Member of the Corps of Discovery

The Great Expedition of Lewis and Clark: By Private Reubin Field, Member of the Corps of Discovery

by Edwards, Sally Wern Comport
     
 

A flavorful account to commemorate its bicentennial

In 1803 a young farmer named Reubin Field enlisted for a journey of enormous import. Commissioned by President Jefferson and headed by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, a "Corps of Discovery" was to make its way through dangerous terrain and harsh conditions to blaze a trail to the Pacific Ocean.

Overview

A flavorful account to commemorate its bicentennial

In 1803 a young farmer named Reubin Field enlisted for a journey of enormous import. Commissioned by President Jefferson and headed by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, a "Corps of Discovery" was to make its way through dangerous terrain and harsh conditions to blaze a trail to the Pacific Ocean. Focusing on a lesser-known figure from the Corps, Judith Edwards has imagined what Reubin’s voice might have been like, and how he might have told his version of the long journey.

The folksy narrative provides an accessible and entertaining overview of the expedition, and Sally Wern Comport’s majestic pictures honor this grand moment in the story of America.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The inviting format, lively prose, and dramatic illustrations make this one of the better offerings for the bicentennial of the grand event." -Kirkus Reviews

"Entertaining and lively." —School Library Journal

Children's Literature
Given the recent flood of books published about the Lewis and Clark expedition, the author has taken a refreshing approach by allowing a peripheral character�Private Reubin Field, a member of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery�to "narrate" his story. In his travels from Illinois to the Pacific Ocean and during the 863 days it took to make the journey, Field recounts his own experiences. Because the story is told in the first person, it is infused with not just historical facts and background information, but a sense of what it was like to deal with the other Corps members, meet up with Native Americans along the way, and navigate through unfamiliar territory. The story is both informative and personalized, and the tone of its telling has an emotional edge that draws the reader in as if he or she were there. The text is coupled with well-rendered muted watercolors and ink sketches. Action shots of the characters are contrasted against pastoral landscape paintings, and they, too, are injected with a sense of how it might have felt to be party to the exploration. The book, available here in library binding, contains enough documented material to supplement a research project on the subject, yet it can also be read for sheer pleasure. All told, it is a lovely book, carefully crafted and thoughtfully put together. 2003, Farrar Straus Giroux, and Ages 8 to 12.
— Susan Schott Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-On May 14, 1804, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off with their Corps of Discovery to explore the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase and hopefully locate a Northwest Passage. They were to return two years, four months later, having made numerous detailed maps and kept copious journals relating their many adventures and hardships. Edwards has chosen the voice of a lesser-known member of the Corps to relate the story of this remarkable journey as she "imagined what Reubin's voice might have been like-." The narrative is entertaining and lively as the intelligence, good nature, and fairness exhibited by the captains are conveyed and the highlights of the trip are described. Comport's watercolor paintings are effective whether depicting the majesty of the land or the humor of attempting to chase down a prairie dog. With the bicentennial of the expedition fast approaching, this book will help to satisfy the need for information. It makes a nice complement to Rosalyn Schanzer's How We Crossed the West (National Geographic, 1997), which uses actual quotes from Lewis and Clark's letters and journals to tell the tale.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Reubin Field and his brother Joseph were two of the "nine young men from Kentucky" who joined the famous Lewis and Clark expedition in 1803. The farmers became soldiers, since this was a military expedition, and began one of the great journeys of all time. Reubin's folksy narrative covers all of the now-familiar people, places, and events of the tale, from the origins with Jefferson, Napoleon, and the Louisiana Purchase, to Sacagawea, Charbonneau, grizzly bears, buffalo, mountain passes, and even a beached whale. Much information about the purposes and findings of the expedition is included, as are an afterword and a small bibliography. In this first-person narrative, as recorded by Edwards, Reubin is a companionable guide, and the inviting format, lively prose, and dramatic illustrations make this one of the better offerings for the bicentennial of the grand event. (Picture book. 6-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374380397
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
08/06/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 11.38(h) x 0.31(d)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Judith Edwards is the author of a number of biographies for children. She lives in Springfield, Vermont.

Among the books Sally Wern Comport has illustrated for children is The Story of Thanksgiving by Robert Merrill Bartlett. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

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