STARRED REVIEW
September 13, 2016

Following the footsteps of legendary explorers

By James Preller

Of course you’re named William Meriwether Miller when your dad is a Lewis and Clark scholar. What Will doesn't expect is to go on a road trip that follows the Lewis and Clark Trail with the same father who left 15 months ago and started a new life. In fact, it’s the last thing Will wants to do, particularly because he’ll be missing out on the summer All-Star team. And please, don’t let it be “educational.”

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Of course you’re named William Meriwether Miller when your dad is a Lewis and Clark scholar. What Will doesn't expect is to go on a road trip that follows the Lewis and Clark Trail with the same father who left 15 months ago and started a new life. In fact, it’s the last thing Will wants to do, particularly because he’ll be missing out on the summer All-Star team. And please, don’t let it be “educational.”

Starting at Fort Mandan in North Dakota, the father-son duo drive, hike, camp, paddle and explore the same route the Discovery Corps trekked to the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. While the Lewis and Clark expedition took 18 months to travel 4,000 miles, Will and his father complete it in close to two weeks. Along the way, Will encounters people and situations that remind him of Sacajawea, York the slave, Seaman the dog, the Nez Perce Indians and others who helped Lewis and Clark on their travels. Interspersed segments of Will’s summer assignment paper and postcards to his mom fill in additional historical facts.

More than a re-creation of Lewis and Clark’s great American adventure, this thoughtful middle grade novel considers the cost of their voyage, especially on Native Americans. Like the original explorers, Will grapples with difficult choices when faced with unforeseen adversity. As Will learns more about himself, readers will learn a bit of U.S. history while considering their own resolve.

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The Courage Test

The Courage Test

By James Preller
Feiwel & Friends
ISBN 9781250093912

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