Author: Preller, James
A boy and his father retrace the journey of Lewis and Clark to experience life lessons and prepare for a big change in their family.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 184415
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 69425
School Library Journal (08/01/16)
Booklist (+) (08/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2016 Having spent years researching what will be his grand opus on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, William Meriwether Miller’s father, a history professor with serious writer’s block, takes his son on a summer road trip along a segment of the trail, hoping Will’s fresh observations and insights will get the ink flowing. There was a time when Will might have welcomed the chance to go adventuring with Dad-back before the divorce, back before Will’s opportunity to play summer ball on an All-Stars team-and if truth be told, it doesn’t take much for Will to drop his adolescent resentment and start to enjoy himself. However, a brief but intense comment dropped and quickly retracted by one of Dad’s colleagues they not-so-accidentally meet in the wilderness puts Will on the alert that there may be more to this trip than rescuing a professional paper, or even making up for lost father/son time. Dad already knows what Will eventually discovers: that they will both need undaunted personal courage to support Mom through cancer treatments she has just begun in her son’s absence. Preller traverses both domestic drama and adventure story with equally sure footing, delivering the thrills of a whitewater rafting accident and a mama bear encounter, and shifting effortlessly to the revelation of Mom’s illness and the now urgent rapprochement between Dad and Will. Whatever young explorers look for on their literary road trips, they’ll find it here. EB - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2016 Gr 4–7—William Meriwether Miller—named after Lewis and Clark—is not happy about embarking on a wilderness adventure with the father who walked out on him and his mother. It's not what he had in mind for his summer (he's missing the chance to play on the All-Stars baseball team), but his mother insists. So he and his father, a history professor working on a book about the famous explorers, set off from Minnesota to North Dakota, driving, camping, rafting, and hiking along the Lewis and Clark Trail. As they work together to overcome obstacles and help a pregnant 15-year-old runaway, Will slowly gains a better understanding of his father. When he finally learns the reason behind the trip—his mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is starting treatment—he comes to appreciate his family as they are and not as he wishes they could be. The lively narrative is interspersed with Will's entries for a school writing assignment, which contain lots of facts about the original journey, as well as postcards to his mother. Despite the emotional heft, thereis plenty of action, including white-waterrafting and a close encounter with a bear. VERDICT A middle grade winner to hand to fans of history, adventure, and family drama.—Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Brighton District Library, Brighton, MI - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2016 *Starred Review* Preller stirs doses of American history into a first-rate road trip that does traditional double duty as plot device and coming-of-age metaphor. Will is initially baffled and furious at being abruptly forced to accompany his divorced father, a history professor, on a long journey retracing much of the trail of Lewis and Clark. The trip soon becomes an adventure, though, because as the wonders of the great outdoors work their old magic on Will’s disposition, his father and a Nez Perce friend (who turns out to be a Brooklyn banker) fill him in on the Corps of Discovery’s encounters with nature and native peoples. Also, along with helping a young runaway find a new home, Will survives a meeting with a bear and a spill into dangerous rapids—tests of courage that will help him weather the bad news that awaits him at home. Despite the many plot threads, the story never seems overstuffed or weighed down by agendas. Leading a cast of appealing characters, Will and his father are both vulnerable sorts who share a damaged, uneasy bond that firms up with realistic slowness and occasional backsliding. Additionally, not only does the author slip cogent historical facts and insights into his simply told narrative without disturbing its flow, he offers more detail, plus sources of information, in an afterword. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.