Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Crossing

The Crossing

Donna Jo Napoli
Illustrator:  Jim Madsen 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Simon and Schuster, 2011   ISBN: 978-1416994749

It is a cold spring, and a little child is “tucked snug” in a cradle pack that his mother is carrying on her back. The child’s mother is called Sacagawea and she and her husband are guiding travelers from the west who are making their way across the country to the Pacific ocean.

In a small boat, they sail on a river hearing the scream of a cougar in the distance. When they reach a series of falls, the travelers must carry their canoes around the falls until they can once more put their vessels in the water.

They paddle “against the current” until at last they reach the place where Sacagawea grew up. Here they are welcomed, and the child dreams of mountain goats clambering over the rocks.

Told through the eyes of Sacagawea’s little child, this account of Lewis and Clark’s incredible journey from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean and back is unique. The narrative is punctuated by the sounds made by the animals that the travelers saw and heard during their often grueling journey.

Jim Madsen’s illustrations perfectly capture the beauty of the wilderness that Lewis and Clark and their companions saw, and the art compliments Donna Jo Napoli’s lyrical text. At the back of the book, an author’s note provides readers with further information about Lewis and Clark’s incredible adventure.