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The Crossing    by Donna Jo Napoli & Jim Madsen order for
by Donna Jo Napoli
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2011 (2011)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the adventures of the Lewis and Clark expedition from the point of view of Sacagawea's child, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, as the infant gazes out from the child carrier strapped to his mother's back.

The child sees and hears the natural wonders the expedition encounters as it travels westward. 'Scream, hiss! Cougars prowl in my dreams. Bugle, bugle! Elks romp in my dreams,' reads the text.

As the alliterative narration chronicles the sights and sounds of the historic journey, the vibrant art captures the animals, varied terrain and changing weather conditions the party encountered. And, once the west coast is reached, the child and his mother return to their native home and all he has are the memories of the wonders he has seen.

Although the story line of this book for children four and older is passable, quite frankly it is Jim Madsen's art that makes this a memorable read. Your child will enjoy retracing Lewis and Clark's footsteps again and again because it is the illustrations that make the trip come alive.

Note: If you happen to have a golden Sacagawea dollar, be sure to show your child baby Charbonneau on the coin's face.

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