From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5-Kidnapped by Hidatsa warriors as a child and given in marriage as a teen to a French Canadian fur trapper, this young Shoshone woman played an incalculable role in American history. Erdrich acknowledges some gaps in what is known about Sacagawea, but her picture-book account is faithful to the historical record as she quickly sketches the young woman's origins and then focuses on her experiences with Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery. Sacagawea's story is tantalizing in its brevity and irony. Brought along as a secondary figure by her opportunist husband, she evidently saved the trip from ruin on several occasions. Little is known of her after the return home, except for the fact that she gave her young son over to Captain Clark's care within a few years' time and likely died not long thereafter. The text is sometimes wooden, but the author does a fine job of describing the setting and background of the group's impressive adventure. The richly hued, impressionistic paintings also create a good sense of time and place. An afterword mentions other speculations. This solid introduction to an intriguing woman should whet readers' appetites for more on this complex chapter of American history.Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2-6. In this handsome, large-size picture-book biography, an Ojibway writer and a Ponca artist tell the story of the young Shoshone woman who traveled west with Lewis and Clark. There are gaps in the story, but Erdrich avoids the usual mistake of making a smooth narrative by filling in with fiction. Instead, she is scrupulous about the facts, and, in an afterword, distinguishes between what's certain and what probably happened. The story begins when the girl, age 11, is kidnapped by Hidatsa warriors. At about 15, she's given in marriage to a much older French Canadian fur trapper and eventually gives birth to a boy, nicknamed "Pomp," shortly before starting on the journey west. Her personal story (including her anguished reunion with her brother) is set against the discovery expedition, during which she acts as interpreter and guide. The unforgettable full-page oil paintings, in warm earth colors, focus on the brave young woman, showing her roots, her extraordinary skills, her melancholy, and her bond with her child and with Clark. A time line, a map, and a brief bibliography follow the story. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved