Lewis and Papa: by Barbara Joosse
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW SERVICE THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS KIRKUS REVIEWS FROM: SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL By Heide Piehler In this moving picture book, a father and son journey across the Santa Fe Trail to make their fortune. The exciting story, strong father/son bond, positive portrayals of males as resilient and sensitive, and striking illustrations come together to create a memorable work. This is sure to find a wide and appreciative audience. FROM: CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW SERVICE Ms. Joosse has done it again! With the beautiful backdrop of the Santa Fe Trail in the mid-1800's, Lewis and his father become close and loving without the "mushy stuff" so many boys avoid at all costs. Lewis grows from a boy to a young man on this exquisitely illustrated journey. The trials and the tribulations of the trail bring forth ideas that all boys must face before they can become men. FROM: THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS By Gina Carlson Best-selling author Barbara Joosse creates a sensitive and insightful story featuring the unique bond between father and son. Lewis and Papa is a thoughtfully created story in both text and art. The plot revolves around a boy's journey into manhood. The dangerous journey brings lasting change and growth because his father took the time and had the courage to share his heart with his son. Artist Jon Van Zyle adds tenderness and drama with his unforgettable illustrations.
FROM: KIRKUS REVIEWS Richly textured paintings in the colors of the West fill the pages; Van Zyle uses tight close-ups of oxen and buffalo, panoramic views of stars and hills, and unusual angles (the circle of wagons is seen from above in one nighttime spread).
Joosse (Mama, Do You Love Me?) embarks on a rambling road as she follows a 19th-century father and son traveling from their home by the Wisconsin River to Santa Fe, where they plan to sell their wagonful of goods from the East. Despite the obvious research here, the historical elements seem secondary to the emotional content of both the story and the paintings. Lewis struggles with homesickness and fears (of animal noises in the night, stampeding buffalo, etc.), though he makes his father proud when he devises a strategy for crossing the Arkansas River and strives to be brave ("He wanted to be a man Papa would be proud of--a man who didn't cry--so he pushed his tears inside"). Papa says and does all the right things, snuggling up with his son under the night sky and reassuring him that there's no shame in feeling scared or in shedding tears. The deepening bond between the two surfaces repeatedly, and somewhat repetitiously, in Van Zyle's (The Eyes of Gray Wolf) images of father and son together amid purplish Western landscapes. Insets on most spreads key the action to a locale on the Sante Fe Trail, mapped on the endpapers; frustratingly, the Wisconsin River--Lewis's starting point--is omitted. A self-congratulatory note at the end, in which Joosse refers to her collaboration with Van Zyle as a "picture book marriage... made in heaven," oversweetens this sentimental volume. Ages 4-8. (June)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Father and son take on the Santa Fe Trail with a wagonload of goods to make their fortune, and find their greatest satisfaction in the new relationship they blaze along the way. Joosse's low key narrative comes alive with Van Zyle's head-on images of grasshoppers, charging buffalo, and birds' eye view of wagons circled around a nighttime campfire. The appended trail history and glossary are helpful.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
K-Gr 3-In this moving picture book, a father and son journey across the Santa Fe Trail to make their fortune. Their wagon is filled with goods that they will sell when they reach their destination. Their adventures are recounted in a straightforward narrative and the simple prose underscores the drama of the situations they confront. Together they battle physical and emotional hardships and in the process discover one another's strengths and vulnerabilities. The book ends, "And so it was that Papa taught Lewis to be a man...and Lewis taught Papa. And that was the real fortune." The evocative oil paintings, which cover two-thirds of each double-page spread, reflect a sense of history as well as the richness of the story. The text is printed on brown-tinted backgrounds that resemble aged paper. In addition to the endpaper maps that show the Santa Fe Trail in its entirety, occasional spot maps pinpoint locations and mark the pair's progress throughout the narrative. Historical notes and a glossary are appended. The exciting story, strong father/son bond, positive portrayals of males as resilient and sensitive, and striking illustrations come together to create a memorable work. This is sure to find a wide and appreciative audience.-Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI
One snowy night, when a 19th-century traveler visits with the family who lives in a stone house on the Wisconsin River, he inspires them to make their fortune by bringing trade goods down the Santa Fe Trail. Lewis's father leaves his wife and daughter to pack up a prairie schooner with goodskegs of nails on the bottom, bolts of calico on topand takes Lewis on the long journey to Santa Fe. Along the way, they encounter dust storms and grasshoppers, herds of buffalo and parched deserts. Lewis watches his father and the other men on the trail and learns what is required in the face of fear, and how crying can be manly, too. Richly textured paintings in the colors of the West fill the pages; Van Zyle uses tight close-ups of oxen and buffalo, panoramic views of stars and hills, and unusual angles (the circle of wagons is seen from above in one nighttime spread). The text is long for a picture book, and becomes sentimental; more gratifying are the historical detailsmap of the trail, notes, glossary, and an explanation of how the railroad running between Missouri to Santa Fe, completed in 1880, ended this mode of commerce. (Picture book. 7-10)