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Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Captain's Dog (Juvenile Fiction)

Released August 2000

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Students everywhere have learned about the journey Lewis and Clark took across the United States. However, I, for one, find textbooks never caught my attention. What I remember of their voyage was minimal.

Roland Smith's THE CAPTAIN'S DOG recounts this very journey, but from the eyes of a Newfoundland, Seaman. The story includes text taken right from Clark's journal, but brings it to life as Seaman recounts the smells and sounds found along the way.

I enjoyed Seaman's perspective. Dogs sense things differently and some of the story's details are captured in this manner. The scent of buffalo for the first time, the taste of different meats--some good, some bad. The sensory details stand out.

The story is based on fact. You will encounter entries where AWOL crew members were recaptured and whipped for their abandonment. These events are handled gently, so children shouldn't have an issue with them.

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