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How We Crossed the West

How We Crossed the West

5.0 3
by Rosalyn Schanzer, National Geographic, Rosalyn Shanzer
Appealing art and descriptive text bring Lewis and Clark alive for young adventurers. Carefully chosen text from Lewis and Cark's actual journals opens a fascinating window into this country's exciting history.


Appealing art and descriptive text bring Lewis and Clark alive for young adventurers. Carefully chosen text from Lewis and Cark's actual journals opens a fascinating window into this country's exciting history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A dramatic slice of America's past comes to life in this exuberant picture book, which unites compelling artwork with a judicious use of the explorers' own words. Schanzer's (Ezra in Pursuit) meticulous research into the exploits of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark convey an enviable knack for ferreting out the kind of details that make for an intelligent and lively rendition of their famous trek. From the mundane (being pestered by fleas) to the daunting (stalwart Sacagawea gives birth halfway through the trip) to the hair-raising (being chased by an enraged grizzly), the author records the particulars that put flesh on the dry bones of history. Selections from dated journal entries ("Encamped one night at a bold running creek I called Hungry Creek as we had nothing to eat," writes Clark) lend freshness and immediacy, and are accompanied by abundantly detailed acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations on rough canvas, which give the pages an interesting visual texture. Tidbits of information are tucked into captions that accompany small porthole-shaped scenes or half-page vignettes and alternate with broad vistas of land and sea. Through it all, readers gain an appreciation for the scope of the journey (maps on the endpapers give an overview) and for the exceptional bravery of this crew. This outstanding picture book is a must-have for anyone with an interest in American history. Ages 6-up. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW wrote, "Schanzer ferrets out the kind of details that make for an intelligent and lively rendition of the famous trek. A must-have for anyone with an interest in American history." Ages 8-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The journey of exploration that President Thomas Jefferson envisioned took more than two years to complete. The explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark chronicled the Indian tribes, plants, and animals they encountered and they also made maps of the vast terrain they crossed on their expedition to the Pacific Ocean. Schanzer has reported on their journey using the words of these explorers and the other members of the Corps of Discovery. Her report brings the scenes to life as does her artwork. The illustrations, which were created to appear primitive, are packed with information that depicts the Native Americans, the scenery, the horrible weather, insects and other difficulties this brave party faced. Without this expedition, the United States may not have become the nation that stretches from sea to shinning sea.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5Schanzer's account of the 1804-1805 journey has colorful, action-filled pictures and a text composed of brief excerpts drawn from the actual journals and letters written by Lewis and Clark and members of the expedition. Quotations from the documents, enclosed in parchment-colored blocks, are placed on pages filled with pictures painted in a naive style, in which paper-doll people and animals march, dance, leap, and battle across a natural landscape of rivers, mountains, and waterfalls. Appropriately for the age level, the author has chosen to record the most dramatic incidents of the journey, the various Indian tribes encountered, and the discovery of new species of animals and birds and natural wonders. Sacagawea, traveling with her temperamental French trapper husband and baby, performs great service in rescuing the precious journals and medicinal supplies during a dangerous river journey. The large route map that decorates the endpapers, like the illustrations, is painted on rough canvas, giving texture and a tactile quality to the pages. Children intrigued by Schanzer's cheerful and sometimes comical pictorial adventure scenes will have a fine introduction to one of the most exciting chapters in American history. As they look further, they will move on to other accounts such as Steven Kroll's Lewis and Clark (Holiday, 1994) and Peter and Connie Roop's Off the Map (Walker, 1993), which also draws its text from the journals of the expedition.Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
A simplified version of the diaries of Lewis and Clark; in an introduction, Schanzer explains how she condensed much of the excitement and adventure of the 40 volumes into this one. The book follows the route mapped out on the end papers, beginning with President Jefferson's request that the two explore the west, and ending when Lewis and Clark return two years later to St. Charles (near St. Louis), long after everyone thought they'd died. In that time the two men discovered many new animals and plants, met with Indian tribes, and created new maps of the uncharted territories. Schanzer often breaks up the page into a series of vignettes with captions, effectively covering many of their experiences in a small space. Her drawings include portraits of the members of the expedition and other details that make an already authentic text all the richer.

Product Details

National Geographic Society
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.82(w) x 10.85(h) x 0.37(d)
AD890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Rosalyn Schanzer is the award-winning author and illustrator of numerous books for young people. An avid photographer and Masters swimmer, she has swam with sharks in Belize, hiked through the jungles of Ecuador and in the rain forests of the Amazon River basin, investigated Inca history at Machu Picchu, climbed the Andes, and helped sail a famous boat from Bermuda to Boston. She lives in Virginia with her husband and when not painting or researching her next book, Roz is available for school visits. To learn more about Rosalyn Schanzer, visit www.rosalynschanzer.com

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