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Lewis and Papa: Adventure On the Santa Fe Trail Hardcover – April 1, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Joosse (Mama, Do You Love Me?) embarks on a rambling road as she follows a 19th-century father and son traveling from their home by the Wisconsin River to Santa Fe, where they plan to sell their wagonful of goods from the East. Despite the obvious research here, the historical elements seem secondary to the emotional content of both the story and the paintings. Lewis struggles with homesickness and fears (of animal noises in the night, stampeding buffalo, etc.), though he makes his father proud when he devises a strategy for crossing the Arkansas River and strives to be brave ("He wanted to be a man Papa would be proud of?a man who didn't cry?so he pushed his tears inside"). Papa says and does all the right things, snuggling up with his son under the night sky and reassuring him that there's no shame in feeling scared or in shedding tears. The deepening bond between the two surfaces repeatedly, and somewhat repetitiously, in Van Zyle's (The Eyes of Gray Wolf) images of father and son together amid purplish Western landscapes. Insets on most spreads key the action to a locale on the Sante Fe Trail, mapped on the endpapers; frustratingly, the Wisconsin River?Lewis's starting point?is omitted. A self-congratulatory note at the end, in which Joosse refers to her collaboration with Van Zyle as a "picture book marriage... made in heaven," oversweetens this sentimental volume. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-In this moving picture book, a father and son journey across the Santa Fe Trail to make their fortune. Their wagon is filled with goods that they will sell when they reach their destination. Their adventures are recounted in a straightforward narrative and the simple prose underscores the drama of the situations they confront. Together they battle physical and emotional hardships and in the process discover one another's strengths and vulnerabilities. The book ends, "And so it was that Papa taught Lewis to be a man...and Lewis taught Papa. And that was the real fortune." The evocative oil paintings, which cover two-thirds of each double-page spread, reflect a sense of history as well as the richness of the story. The text is printed on brown-tinted backgrounds that resemble aged paper. In addition to the endpaper maps that show the Santa Fe Trail in its entirety, occasional spot maps pinpoint locations and mark the pair's progress throughout the narrative. Historical notes and a glossary are appended. The exciting story, strong father/son bond, positive portrayals of males as resilient and sensitive, and striking illustrations come together to create a memorable work. This is sure to find a wide and appreciative audience.
Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1st edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811819590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811819596
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,656,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By D. Burt on May 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
We really enjoyed this book. One of many recommended by TruthQuest History curriculum for American History, it was a nice introduction to the Santa Fe Trail.

The celebration of manhood in Lewis and Papa is wonderful. A man must be brave, although it is perfectly acceptable for him to be scared. A man does what must be done, although it is perfectly acceptable for him to shed a few tears when he must do something sad.

In the Note from the Author, she asks, "How does a boy learn of his father's love? Is it more by words or actions?" Lewis and Papa is a book about action (specifically, action on the Santa Fe Trail in the 1800's), and a father's love for his son is evident in these actions (and in the beautiful paintings by Jon Van Zyle).
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Format: Hardcover
Lewis and Papa: Adventure on the Santa Fe Trail is about a father and son traveling west in the 1820s, headed for Santa Fe to sell a wagon full of goods. But it's really an excellent glimpse into how boys grow into men by watching their fathers. In our modern age the role of fathers has been denigrated and cheapened by the media and men are seen as unnecessary and disposable in the lives of their children, but that's an ugly and insidious lie. To grow up into complete people children need both male and female role models to copy from. "Lewis and Papa" illustrates how a boy watches his father deal with emotions, tough times and adversity, happiness and male bonding, and the other things that help him become a man worthy of the title, and how the boy grows up a bit on the journey to Santa Fe. This book would be a great tool for opening discussions between parent and child about many topics.

The story is well-written and would make an excellent read-along book for parent and child. It's beautifully illustrated (I especially liked the pages of the bison stampede) and depicts historical facts concerning the Trail westward. I recommend it to anyone with a young person in their life, and if that young person is a boy then the recommendation is doubled.
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By A Customer on April 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Lewis accompanies his Papa on the trade route of the Santa Fe. While on the trail, Lewis discoveres what it means to be a man. The experiences that happen on the trail allow Lewis to grow in maturity as well as grow closer to his father. Interseting fictional account of life on the Santa Fe Trail.
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