Experience the wonder of Lewis and Clark’s journey with the youngest expedition member.

THE CROSSING

Riding in a cradle board on his mother’s back, Sacagawea’s baby son Jean Baptiste provides a fresh perspective on Lewis and Clark’s monumental westward journey from Fort Mandan, N.D., across the northwestern United States to the Pacific and back between 1805 and 1806.

When Shoshoni guide Sacagawea embarks with the Lewis and Clark expedition, little Jean Baptiste tells readers, “Rolled in a rabbit hide, I am tucked snug in a cradle pack in the whipping cold of a new spring.” Along with Jean Baptiste, readers will sail the Missouri River, portage waterfalls, traverse snow-covered mountain passes on horseback, glide in canoes through canyons embellished with rock paintings, gather roots in rain forests, build winter camp and explore whale bones on Pacific shore. As seasons pass and landscapes change, Jean Baptiste describes tall grizzlies, sparkling salmon, prowling cougars, romping elk, racing ermine, clambering goats, jumping deer and buzzing bees with childlike wonder. Richly hued, realistic, digitally rendered illustrations capture the pristine grandeur of the American west and its first inhabitants. The wee narrator, Jean Baptiste, appears on his mother’s back or in her arms in every double-page spread with high plains, waterfalls, mountains, forests and ocean as backdrop until he runs free in the final scene.

Experience the wonder of Lewis and Clark’s journey with the youngest expedition member. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9474-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance.

MUMBET'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

With the words of Massachusetts colonial rebels ringing in her ears, a slave determines to win her freedom.

In 1780, Mumbet heard the words of the new Massachusetts constitution, including its declaration of freedom and equality. With the help of a young lawyer, she went to court and the following year, won her freedom, becoming Elizabeth Freeman. Slavery was declared illegal and subsequently outlawed in the state. Woelfle writes with fervor as she describes Mumbet’s life in the household of John Ashley, a rich landowner and businessman who hosted protest meetings against British taxation. His wife was abrasive and abusive, striking out with a coal shovel at a young girl, possibly Mumbet’s daughter. Mumbet deflected the blow and regarded the wound as “her badge of bravery.” Ironically, the lawyer who took her case, Theodore Sedgwick, had attended John Ashley’s meetings. Delinois’ full-bleed paintings are heroic in scale, richly textured and vibrant. Typography becomes part of the page design as the font increases when the text mentions freedom. Another slave in the Ashley household was named in the court case, but Woelfle, keeping her young audience in mind, keeps it simple, wisely focusing on Mumbet.

A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance. (author’s note, selected bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6589-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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A beautiful portrayal of a historic and arduous family journey northward

OVERGROUND RAILROAD

One family’s experience of the Great Migration.

Cline-Ransome and Ransome, a husband-and-wife author-and-illustrator team, have again collaborated on an important story from African American history. Narrator Ruth Ellen, Mama, and Daddy awaken early to travel to New York without the permission or knowledge of the landowner on whose land they sharecrop. (The author’s note mentions that landowners often used threats and violence to keep sharecroppers on the land and perpetually in debt.) The family boards the train with luggage, tickets, and food in a shoebox—since black folks cannot eat in the dining car and must sit in the colored section of the train. The conductor calls out the cities as they progress North. When the conductor removes the “whites only” sign near Baltimore, African Americans can sit wherever they want—though it takes some time before Ruth Ellen and her family find white riders who smile a welcome. Ruth Ellen reads Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass aloud to Mama on the train ride, a gift from her teacher that parallels her own family’s journey. Ransome’s watercolor-and-collage illustrations effectively capture both the historical setting and the trepidation of a family who though not enslaved, nevertheless must escape as if they were. Cotton bolls throughout the images accentuate cotton’s economic dominance in the sharecropping system.

A beautiful portrayal of a historic and arduous family journey northward . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3873-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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