Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Louisiana Purchase

Louisiana Purchase

Peter Roop, Connie Roop
Illustrator:  Sally Wern Comport 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Simon and Schuster, 2004   ISBN: 978-0689864438

Today it is hard to imagine that there was once a time when the United States only went as far west as the Mississippi  River, and yet in 1803 the river was the western most boundary of the young country. The president, Thomas Jefferson, wanted more than anything to own the city of New Orleans, for it was the gateway to the Mississippi River, but at that time the city was owned by the French.  Then France's leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, who needed money more than anything else, decided that his holdings in the New World were less important to him than having the funds to continue his conquests in Europe.

So a deal was struck. Initially the Americans were only talking about buying New Orleans, but then the French threw in the whole of the Louisiana territory, an area expanding from Texas all the way north to the border with British North America (Canada). It was an offer that was too good to pass over and the deal was struck. Now America was twice as big as it had been, and the Mississippi River was American from its source all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

This interesting and well written book makes a historic event accessible to young readers. As they read they will come to understand  why and how the Louisiana Purchase came about.