cover image Who'd Believe John Colter

Who'd Believe John Colter

Mary Blount Christian, Christian. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $13.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-02-718477-8

This spirited fictionalized biography of a trapper/trader who joined Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery at age 18 is embellished with the friendly hyperbole of the American tall tale. Its swiftly paced narrative vibrates with the excitement of discovery and the irresistible pull of new adventures. Colter himself brims with rough charm and seems a spiritual brother to such folk heroes as Davy Crockett. The progress of the famous expedition is more easily followed here than in Peter and Connie Roop's Off the Map (see Children's Books Forecasts, May 17)), which is composed of excerpts from Lewis and Clark's actual journals. But the absence of historical sources will strand readers at the conclusion, which reads, ``All this is true--more or less.'' As historical fiction, however, this is a sure-fire, accessible entry that will easily capture reader interest and imagination. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-11. (May)