cover image An Indian Winter

An Indian Winter

Russell Freedman. Holiday House, $24.95 (88pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0930-3

The Newbery Medalist returns to the subject matter of Indian Chiefs and Buffalo Hunt --though with a narrower scope--in this recounting of the 1833-1834 expedition of Prince Maximilian of Germany and the artist Karl Bodmer up the Missouri River. While Maximilian's own journal provides details of a difficult trek, the book's primary focus is the winter spent by Bodmer and the Prince with the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes--details of their daily lives, customs, modes of dress and beliefs. The book is generously if unevenly illustrated, chiefly with works by Bodmer, whose watercolors of individuals are direct and immediate. However, engravings later produced in Europe seem stereotyped, and several large oil paintings are not well reproduced. Background information and sites to visit today fill out the volume. Readers of Freedman's other titles on Native American topics will find much of interest here, though some may question the reliability of two European dilettantes concerning a culture they visited only briefly. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)