Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Incredible Journey of Lewis and Clark

The Incredible Journey of Lewis and Clark

Rhoda Blumberg
For ages 12 to and up
HarperCollins, 1995   ISBN: 978-0688144210

President Thomas Jefferson had high hopes. His government had just acquired an enormous tract of land from the French and he was keen to find out what kinds of people, animals, and other treasures could be found in this new territory. He also wanted to forge alliances with the Indians living on these lands before the English did so. Jefferson hoped that perhaps an overland route to the Pacific coast could be found. To achieve these goals the President decided to send an expedition west. He selected his own personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to organize the expedition. Lewis chose an old comrade of his from his army days, William Clark, to join him and co-lead the trip.

So in May of 1804, the “Corps of Discovery” set off. On their long journey to the Pacific the men met Indians of all kinds, made valuable friends, collected all kinds of plant and animal specimens for Jefferson, and created maps that would be used by travelers for years to come.

Using documents of the period, especially the journals of the explorers, the author of this excellent book paints a portrait of an extraordinary journey full of adventures, discoveries, and wonderful stories. Readers will discover a great deal about the Native American tribes that the Corps of Discovery encountered and will come to appreciate how these people were viewed by the men from Washington and the president who sent them. It is not always an attractive picture, but it is an honest and enlightening one.

Numerous illustrations and excerpts from travel journals help the reader see what it might have been like to be a part of this one-of-a-kind event.