New Found Land : Lewis and Clark’s Voyage of Discovery
This fictional account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is told in multiple voices in a straightforward and entertaining lyrical form. Fourteen characters move the story along; as the exploring party traverses the continent to the Pacific Ocean, we hear not only from the Corps of Discovery’s famous participants, but also from those who are lesser known–a fiddler, a drunkard, a slave, and even Meriwether Lewis’s Newfoundland dog, Seaman.
Fiction blends well with fact in this first novel (the author smartly intersperses actual letters throughout, written from Thomas Jefferson to his former secretary, Meriwether Lewis, from Lewis to his mother, and to his friend and co-captain, William Clark, for example). A true accomplishment, this book, and I recommend it highly. One note. At a whopping 512 pages, this sizable work might give pause to the middle grade readers who are its intended audience.
Because it is presented from multiple points of view in a pleasing and accessible style, however, it seems perfect for a classroom setting (or even for home), with people taking parts. The book is divided into seven sections, each with an accompanying map. The author’s notes are included, as well as information on what became of the Corps of Discovery after the expedition, an explanation of American Indian names and terms, and more.