2004 "First edition 2004" stated on copyright page; Candlewick Press publishers, Cambridge, Massachusetts; slightly oversized hardbound; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
publishers weekly review -
First novelist Wolf tells the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition as an engrossing epic in blank verse, through the voices of 14 alternating narrators. "Not only are we to search out the Northwest Passage (should it exist);/ we are also now charged with determining/ the very boundaries of the United States of America," explains Meriwether Lewis to William Clark, when the latter accepts Lewis's invitation to "co-command" the legendary cross-country trek. Wolf assembles familiar participants, such as the two leaders; Clark's slave, York; and the Shoshone guide, Sacagawea; and also incorporates the fictionalized voice of Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman (the pooch confesses, "my true name is Oolum"). Teenaged George Shannon's monologues here work nicely in tandem with Kate McMullan's My Travels with Capts. Lewis and Clark by George Shannon (reviewed Sept. 20), and Oolum voices many of the journey's moments of beauty and insight, as when the Corps is poised to fight 400 Indians if necessary ("Everything fell silent, except for the hissing of the Missouri River, which would not be stopped"). Because of the shifts among perspectives, however, readers may be challenged to figure out when some of the characters joined the expedition (it's hard to discern just how Sacagawea comes into the fold, for instance). But Wolf's ear for verse (especially in many of Sacagawea's monologues: e.g., "Every night when I go to sleep/ the birds bring hope in their beaks") and strong sense of the dramatic keep the pages turning. History buffs and readers with an interest in Lewis and Clark will find much to savor. Ages 10-up.