Minneapolis, MN: Black Sheep, Scholastic, 2016

Lewis and Clark get the graphic novel treatment in Lewis and Clark Map the American West as part of the Extraordinary Explorers series from Scholastic! The illustrations are attractive and interesting, the text is clear, and the story is accurate. Although many events and characters are not mentioned in this super-abbreviated version, the sense of adventure and awe comes through and the 24 pages get to the heart of the purpose and danger of the journey. The story is very much about the sequence of events in getting to the Pacific Ocean, not about the characters. We only briefly meet key players in the journey, like Toussaint Charbonneau and Sacagewea, and there are only a few details about Lewis and Clark.

It’s a good choice for reluctant readers who are new to Lewis & Clark, but doesn’t contain enough detail for students who might already be familiar with the story. There are a few moments that don’t quite ring true, but it has elements of quality nonfiction: a table of contents, historical quotes in orange text, glossary, additional facts, a short index and even a few small maps.

While not a stellar example of graphic novel nonfiction, Lewis and Clark Map the American West certainly would be useful as a high-interest/low-vocabulary title and could fit nicely into an elementary graphic novel collection.

Dewey: 917.804                                                                        Interest Level: Grades 2-5

Awards and Reviews: None

Another option for Grades 2-5: The Explorations of Lewis and Clark by Gary Jefrey, illustrated by Terry Riley.

Younger readers might like: A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David Adler, illustrated by Ronald Himler.

Older Students might like: Lewis and Clark by Samuel Willard (Great Explorers series, 2009).

Fiction Pairing: Seaman: The Dog who Explored the West with Lewis & Clark by Gail Karwoski.

On the Web:

PBS’s Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery has an interactive map, classroom resources, and a Q & A forum with Ken Burns.

Primary Sources: National Archives at https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/lewis-clark/#documents.