Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lewis & Clark

Lewis & Clark

Nick Bertozzi
Graphic Novel
For ages 12 and up
First Second, 2011   ISBN: 978-1596434509

It is January in 1803 and Captain Lewis Meriwether Clark is woken up by Thomas Jefferson, the President of the United States, who is banging on his door. The president, who is Lewis’ boss, tells Lewis that Congress has agreed to send an expedition across the country to “find the water route to the west.” The plan is to travel from St. Louis across British, Spanish, and Russian territory to the Pacific in Oregon Country.     President Jefferson wants Lewis to chart the territories that he crosses, and to learn about the plants, animals, geology, and peoples that he sees on his journey.

Lewis asks his friend William Clark to share the command of the expedition, which Clark gladly agrees to do. After much planning and preparing, Lewis, Clark, and the “Corps of Discovery” leave the town of St. Charles, Missouri on May 21st 1804.

It isn’t long before Lewis and Clark are required to exercise caution as they come to the lands of the Native Americans. They want to parlay with the Native Americans and offer them gifts, hoping to win their trust and not rouse their suspicions. Though potentially volatile situations do arise, trouble is averted and the Corps of Discovery keeps going west. When they meet the Mandan tribes people, they make friends with them and spend the winter on their land. While they are waiting for the Missouri River to thaw, they try to find interpreters who can speak the languages of the Snake and Shoshone tribes. A Frenchman, who has a Native American wife called Sacagawea, tells that she can speak Shoshone. They can only hope that with her help they will be able to complete their mission.

In this excellent graphic novel account of the adventures of Lewis and Clark, the author not only tells a rousing story, but he gives us a sense of what Lewis, Clark, and the people they met were like as individuals. We Learn that Lewis was hot-headed and short-tempered, and that Clark often had to act as the peacemaker.

With unique black and white graphic style art throughout the book, this is a title that fans of the graphic novel genre will want to add to their collection.