cover image Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark

Nick Bertozzi, Roaring Brook/First Second, $16.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-59643-450-9

Bertozzi (Houdini: The Handcuff King) brings new life to the epic westward journey of explorers Lewis and Clark in this graphic novel perfect for history buffs. At the urging of President Jefferson, Capt. Meriwether Lewis gathers a party of hardy men to accompany him into the unknown western territories, through which he is determined to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean. Setting off on May 21, 1804, from St. Louis with his second-in-command, Capt. William Clark, Lewis proves to be a man of singular—often bordering on tunnel—vision when it comes to accomplishing his goal. Bertozzi illustrates the group's interactions with numerous Native American tribes, which grow increasingly strained as the chiefs rebuff the explorers' offers of beads for trade and demand rifles and other weaponry. The challenging landscape plays a major role as well, including the mighty Missouri River, the unexpected Rocky Mountains, and finally rapids in the Dalles, Ore., near the end of the journey. Lewis's dream of finding an uninterrupted water route westward fails. His deteriorating mental state throughout the expedition and particularly on the return trip is eloquently drawn, with Bertozzi managing to combine both history lesson and character study in strong, gripping drawings. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)