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New Found Land: Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery Hardcover – August 19, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up–This amazing work presents the exciting adventure of the Lewis and Clark expedition through the eyes of its participants. Using poetic form, Wolf tells the story in alternating narratives by a dozen of the human participants and Seaman, the Newfoundland dog belonging to Meriwether Lewis. The dog, called Oolum here, supposedly his private name, serves as the omniscient narrator. His prose entries provide a running description of and commentary on the events. Factual details abound, reflecting the intense research on which the book is based. But Wolf has managed to give intriguing, well-developed personalities to the Corps of Discovery members who tell this tale. The disparate group included educated men, adventurers, traders, a captured teenage Shoshone girl, and a slave belonging to William Clark. Talk of freedom from different points of view is enlightening as is Clark's rationalization for slavery. The dramatic effects of the expedition on the participants come to life as they share their experiences and thoughts with readers. The mind-boggling reality of what these people went through to explore and expand this nation instills appreciation for their sacrifices and accomplishments. In notes following the novel, Wolf describes the limited literary liberties he took with some of the details. For example, Thomas Jefferson's closing narrative includes reminiscences of a fictitious boyhood relationship with Lewis. This is an extraordinary, engrossing book that would appeal most to serious readers, but it should definitely be added to any collection.–Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This book, which is based on extensive historical research, uses nontraditional narrative formats to successfully re-create the period and convey the excitement and anxiety of venturing into the unknown. It also puts distinct human faces on famous and not-so-famous names. Wolf's primary narrator is Lewis' dog, Seaman. Thirteen other voices, ranging from President Jefferson and Captains Lewis and Clark to drinker Hugh Hall, and York, Clark's slave, relate the events from their perspectives. These diverse voices reveal in free verse the class structure of the expedition, as well as historical attitudes toward African Americans, Indians, and women. A novel that willl enrich American History studies and stimulate classroom discussion. Linda Perkins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 edition (August 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763621137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763621131
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,199,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Allan Wolf is an award-winning children's and young adult novelist, poet, educator, and performer. His novels told in verse include New Found Land: Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery and Zane's Trace. His poetry books include Immersed in Verse, The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems about our Parts, and More Than Friends: Poems From Him and Her. Allan is former Educational Director for Poetry Alive!, a national touring company that presents theatrical poetry shows for all ages. He lives in Asheville with his wife and three children and can recite hundreds of poems from memory.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Trapper on April 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"New Found Land," by Alan Wolf. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0763621137/qid=1114056055/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-6991206... This book, billed as suitable for grade seven and up, caught the eye of a geezer. It's a novel written in first person poetic form in fourteen different voices, all principals of the Lewis and Clark expedition, The Corps of Discovery.

The title voice is none other than that of Seaman, Meriwether Lewis's big black bear of a Newfoundland dog--known to himself as Oolum. New Found Land is a story of a land at the dawn of its transition to a new existence, one that we know today as the western half of the United States of America. Other voices are Lewis himself, Clark, Thomas Jefferson, George Shannon, the Fields brothers, others of the expedition, and of course, Sacajawea.

Of course, it wasn't really New FOUND Land. It had been found some 10,000 years earlier, before the pyramids were built. But to the members of the expedition, and to many of us who love their story, it WAS NEW Found Land.

This work is a blend of the actual words from the Journals, and what might have been said by the characters as they made their daily discoveries. I like its poetic style, unique among all the books I've read about this adventure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Powell on January 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book - it is great historical fiction. The story-telling is great, and you pick up a lot of facts and information about the actual Lewis & Clark trip (without it getting boring or tedious). The style of writing takes a little getting used to - it is written in a poetic style, and each "chapter" is written in first-person by one of 14 different people. But, you get used to it. A plus for me was that each "chapter" is only 1-3 pages in length - so I could read small, complete pieces when I could find time. The author does include actual passages from journals kept on the trip, and mixes these passages well with both fictional and non-fictional accounts of the trip. I particularly enjoyed following the stories of Reubin and Joseph Fields.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DeeGee on February 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I love poetry and history and found this book to be an intriguing blend of both. I've read many books on Lewis and Clark's voyage - even the best have a tendancy to become tedious with the (mis)spelling and durge of details. Mr. Wolf tells the story of the trip from the aspect of many different characters - including Seaman, the Newfoundland dog. This would be an excellent book for teachers to read aloud to their students - it's also a great introduction to poetry - don't be put off if you're not a poetry fan - you will like it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. L. Baker on March 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing historical fiction account of the Lewis and Clark Voyage of Discovery. In Idaho, students are spoon-fed Lewis and Clark starting in the fourth grade. By the time they get to 8th grade, students think they know everything there is to know about the Corps of Discovery. This novel opens up their eyes and their minds to so many more possibilities, and the understanding that, "Yes, you're right Mrs. Baker, I guess there are still some things about the Lewis and Clark journey that I don't know." And they enjoy it! Beyond that, my husband, who is only satisfied with reading non-fiction, enjoyed it. I loved it. It is exceptional. The content/vocabulary is not so difficult that those with lower reading abilities will be put off, as they are, for example, by Undaunted Courage. Read it. You will be glad you did!
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Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved Allan Wolf's "The Watch that Ends the Night". I've always enjoyed novels written in verse, and this book on the sinking of the titanic was one of the better YA verse novels I've read.

In many ways New Found Land is as good, if not better, even if it doesn't seem to enjoy the same popularity. Being Australian, I only knew the basics of the Lewis & Clark Voyage of Discovery. There was no better way to learn. Wolf successfully describes the depredation that the explorer's group suffered during their expedition by telling the story through a dozen character's eyes. He obviously cares for his characters - they ring true, with each of them having to conquer their own demons along the river.

Using the Newgoundland dog as the voice of reason, or the narrator, works for me better than the iceberg in the Watch That Ends the Night. It is a narrative technique that keeps the story flowing and explains the "heavy" stuff in a page or two. It's also the only voice not written in verse.

I especially liked how Wolf got into disparate character's heads by keeping with attitudes of the day (slavery and the savages) but remained unsentimental and impartial to what the voyage would mean for the future of the Native Americans. Sacagawea is perhaps a little too wise and mystical (something the author mentions in the character notes) as the "all wise native" but her conflict between the white man's world, her exclusion from her own tribe and the future of her people is felt strongly.

I especially liked the characters on the peripheray. The drinker, the half breed, the brothers looking for adventure. Wolf did this just as well in his Titanic novel. The characters are extremely likeable, and reedemable.
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