In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson sends Lewis and Clark out west to explore. He tells them to make maps. He tells them to draw pictures and collect plants. Most importantly, he tells them to send presents! What kind of present is good enough for a president? Beginning readers will truly enjoy reading about this fun and little-known slice of American history.
This children's narrative, which is step three in the "Step into Reading" series, introduces children to the true story of Lewis and Clark, the two men who were asked by Thomas Jefferson to explore the West. Through this story children learn that the two men, with the help of many others, were able to achieve their goal. With them on their journey they took soldiers, scouts and boatmen. One of the most valued members of this group was Sacagawea, a Native-American woman, married to one of the scouts. Without her help Lewis and Clark's mission would have been much more difficult, for she knew which nuts and berries to eat, how to cook and stew meat, and very importantly, she was able to talk and trade with the Native-Americans they encountered on their travels. The book does not stress enough how important she was to the success of Lewis and Clark's expedition. The story recounts how Lewis and Clark created maps, explored rivers, collected and documented plants, captured and drew animals such as buffalo, grizzly bears and jackrabbits. One of the main events in this story is how the two men captured, named and shipped a Prairie Dog to Jefferson in order to satisfy his request for presents. Although appropriately written for young children, this book glosses over important issues of intruding on the land of others and interfering with the environment. The illustrations while providing important visuals, are not particularly eye catching or unique. 2003, Random House, Ages 6 to 9.