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The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe (Great Episodes) [Kindle Edition]

Roland Smith
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Born the runt of his litter and gambled away to a rusty old riverman, the Newfoundland pup Seaman doesn’t imagine his life will be marked by any kind of glory--beyond chasing down rats. But when he meets Captain Meriwether Lewis, Seaman finds himself on a path that will make history. Lewis is just setting off on his landmark search for the Northwest Passage, and he takes Seaman along. Sharing the curiosity and strength of spirit of his new master, Seaman proves himself a valuable companion at every turn. Part history, part science--and adventure through and through--The Captain’s Dog is the carefully researched, thrilling tale of America’s greatest journey of discovery, as seen through the keen, compassionate eyes of a remarkable dog.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In addition to Girl of the Shining Mountains (reviewed above), which gives Sacagawea's perspective on Lewis and Clark's exploration, Smith's (Thunder Cave; Jaguar) historical novel imagines the duo's epic 1804-1806 journey through the eyes of Captain Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman. The novel opens in 1808, when two former members of the expedition discover Seaman living with Nez Perce Indians; one of them presents the pair with Lewis's red-leather journal, rescued by Seaman. This opening framework may be mechanical, but the novel eventually hits its stride: as the traders read aloud the entries (actual text from Lewis's journals), they trigger Seaman's flashbacks. The canine's perspective, both fresh and original, is most effective in objectively relating a diverse array of customs and tribes. The narration strikes a note of humor, too, especially when Seaman offers insight into a dog's life: "Dogs know humans better than they will ever know us." Seaman's voice, however, does not adhere to a canine purview as cannily as Henrietta Branford's recent Fire, Bed and Bone, and the narrative occasionally lapses into admonishment (e.g., when Lewis berates himself for his failed iron boat scheme, Seaman mentally recounts the man's resume of accomplishments). An author's note offers little historical perspective on the expedition, but readers may well leave with a thirst for more of Lewis and Clark's adventures. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Grade 5-8-This is the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition as witnessed by Seaman, the massive Newfoundland dog that accompanied the two captains. Faithful to their original diaries, the novel brings to life the day-to-day challenges faced by the team charged with the task of exploring the American West and searching for the legendary Northwest Passage. Action and adventure abound: frequent attacks by grizzly bears and voracious mosquitoes, arduous crossings of nearly impassable landscapes, mutiny and desertion, and close encounters with both friendly and hostile Indians. However, while Seaman's narration is inventive, Smith has difficulty sustaining it, mainly because the dog is such a minor player in the momentous events that he describes. His point of view often seems too omniscient and introspective, resulting in a narrative that sounds uncomfortably human. Only when he recalls a purely canine memory such as marking trees does he snap readers back to the realization that this storyteller is indeed four-legged. Still, this occasional awkwardness does not diminish the scope and power of this entertaining introduction to an episode of American history rarely celebrated in fiction. For another novel about Seaman and his role in the expedition, look to Gail Langer Karwoski's Seaman (Peachtree, 1999), a lively account in which this brave animal is a much more central character.
William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2340 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0152019898
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003WJQ79E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,577 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid historical fiction plus fun April 22, 2000
Format:Hardcover
I thouroughly enjoyed The Captain's Dog and felt the voice of Seaman gave the novel an added flair. Many times I was so lost in the story, I forgot Seaman was a dog. I especially like this novel because it lays a strong foundation for further research into the adventures of Lewis and Clark. Readers get to meet and know so many interesting characters. The characterization of Captain Lewis is so complete I felt as if he was an old friend. I laughed and cried when reading this novel. It has heart, adventure, and a little bit of mystery. The descriptive details give evidence to the extensive research which must have gone into writing this novel. Bravo, Roland Smith! How about a new historical novel about merchant seaman or pirates. Perhaps Seaman could come along as well.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Captain's Dog: Seaman's adventures April 14, 2000
Format:Hardcover
The Captain's Dog is a good choice for a young reader who likes dogs and adventure. And it is also great for a subtle education about early western history. The story is told from the dog's perspective. Although fictional in nature, the history is accurate, the story could actually have happened, and it is believable. The point of view of the story may be somewhat difficult for a young person under 12 years old to follow because it comes from three perspectives. Each chapter opens with two men who went with the Lewis & Clark expedition reminiscing about the journey. They read from one of Lewis' diaries. Then Seaman, the dog, starts remembering and thinking of his adventures on the trip which takes up most of the chapter. Not being able to follow the change in narrator does not take anything away from the story, however. The chapters are short, the story moves along pretty well, and the reading appears to be at about a 4th to 6th grade level. The Captain's Dog is a perfect gift for the child or young boy or girl who likes to read, appreciates animals, and has a hankering for adventure and fun. I think it would be popular for Jr. High School students also.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
What an enjoyable way to learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, from the perspective of a dog! �The Captain�s Dog� is Seaman, a Newfoundland dog that belonged to Captain Meriwether Lewis. Seaman accompanied him and Captain William Clark and their Corps of Discovery on the search for the overland water route to the Pacific in the early 1800�s. Here, Roland Smith's historical fiction is thoroughly researched and credible. Through Seaman, we meet many fascinating characters, experience the journey�s hazards, and get an ingenious feel for what life in the Corps was like from the inside. Readers will enjoy the typical doglike behavior displayed by Seaman, such as marking his territory and sniffing out animals and humans from miles away. He is curious and courageous, as all fine explorers should be. Each chapter is told from three perspectives, using people who knew or accompanied Lewis and Clark speaking in third person, then reading excerpts from Lewis� personal diary, followed by Seaman recalling his adventures and observations in first person. The changes in viewpoint and lack of illustrations might make this book difficult for younger readers. I would recommend it for fifth grade reading level and up, especially as a great introduction or supplement for students studying the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Captain�s Dog ~ By Roland Smith December 17, 2003
By kim
Format:Paperback
Seaman was given the opportunity to go with Lewis and Clark on their adventure to find the North-West Passage. I mean, who would give up the chance to go with some of the most fascinating people in our history? Oh, did I forget to mention that Seaman was a dog traded to Captain Meriweather Lewis? Together, they take an exciting journey to find new things never seen before, people they have never met, and dangers they will never think of facing.
Seaman is a big black dog, which is often mistaken by many of the Native Americans they meet as a big black grizzly bear. He is very brave, always trying to do something heroic. He saves the expedition many times. Even once he almost died from a beaver attacking him while trying to save half of the men. He also comes face to face with grizzly bears and wolves many times. Those were two of the biggest threats to Seaman besides starvation. Out of that big characteristic, there was one more that stood out, loyalty. When someone wanted to go for a walk, Seaman would always go with them. He never gave up on anyone, especially when Captain Lewis had some emotional breakdowns.
I think, The Captain's Dog, by Roland Smith seemed like a roller coaster of our history. It had its ups and downs. You always expect something exciting, but by the end of the chapter you'll have experienced, by reading this book something greater than you've imagined. You can really learn a lot in this story from all the true facts in this book. If you like reading those diary type books, then you'll love reading this! It is just like reading a diary from your own dog. This book reminded me of my friend's dog, and how he would think of these adventures if he could read. I highly recommend this book for ages twelve and up because young children will find it to difficult to understand. Those who are older...GO AND READ IT!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read from a 38 year old! June 21, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book to my niece and nephew (they were 8 and 10 respectively) a couple of years ago and I can't wait to read it to my own kids when they get old enough. Being from South Dakota, I know of a lot of the places this book took us which is important but the book was also filled with a lot of emotion...it had us laughing, crying and cheering! Not too many books do that these days. Rock on, Roland Smith! And just for the record, my niece and nephew and I still talk about this book to this day. Parents, read to your kids!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a dog's life
On our trip west, I started reading the journals of Lewis and Clark. The spelling and grammar are so bad that they are almost impossible to read. Seaman the dog writes much better! Read more
Published 13 days ago by J. J. Clarke
4.0 out of 5 stars Good But...
The book was a very interesting story but it was a little confusing at times. Like at the end I had to go back and re read how he got the book. But overall good book
Published 14 days ago by Danielle Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Kid's Book
My son read this as part of his summer reading program. He thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lewis & Clark and loved the fact that it was written from the dog's perspective.
Published 2 months ago by Lisa Haggerty
5.0 out of 5 stars My review
In The Captain's Dog, we meet Seaman, the dog who accompanies Lewis and Clark on their epic journey. They face grizzly bears, Indian tribes... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Factor Kids
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced historical fiction for kids
Seaman, Lewis' dog, narrates the story of Lewis and Clark's amazing cross-country journey. The book includes many harrowing, true-to-life stories about escaping grizzly bears,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anastasia L. N. Tuckness
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes history fun & accessible
I love this book enough to have bought multiple copies for friends of all ages. A graceful telling of an amazing story.
Published 6 months ago by Jodie
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!
I had read the diary of Lewis and Clark and wanted to read this for more details. It is well written and I loved it!
Published 6 months ago by eanj
5.0 out of 5 stars An historical adventure
Seaman was a valuable member of the Corps of Discovery, Meriwether Lewis's and William Clark's 2-year expedition to map the Louisiana Territory. Read more
Published 7 months ago by AnLe
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story.
I'm a dog lover and I love a good read. What a wonderful combination. I too would like to go back in time and spend the day with $eaman. Read more
Published 8 months ago by JackieV
5.0 out of 5 stars Great way to tell the journey.
This story by Seaman to the history of Lewis and Clark's travels in a very fun way. I bought the book for our 7 year old grandson who is interested in L and C but I enjoyed it... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Roland Smith is a former zookeeper and leading expert on red wolves as well as an author. He lives on a small farm near Portland, Oregon.

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