Born the runt of his litter and gambled away to a rusty old riverman, the Newfoundland pup Seaman doesn’t imagine his life will be marked by any kind of glory--beyond chasing down rats. But when he meets Captain Meriwether Lewis, Seaman finds himself on a path that will make history. Lewis is just setting off on his landmark search for the Northwest Passage, and he takes Seaman along. Sharing the curiosity and strength of spirit of his new master, Seaman proves himself a valuable companion at every turn. Part history, part science--and adventure through and through--The Captain’s Dog is the carefully researched, thrilling tale of America’s greatest journey of discovery, as seen through the keen, compassionate eyes of a remarkable dog.
In addition to Girl of the Shining Mountains (reviewed above), which gives Sacagawea's perspective on Lewis and Clark's exploration, Smith's (Thunder Cave; Jaguar) historical novel imagines the duo's epic 1804-1806 journey through the eyes of Captain Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman. The novel opens in 1808, when two former members of the expedition discover Seaman living with Nez Perce Indians; one of them presents the pair with Lewis's red-leather journal, rescued by Seaman. This opening framework may be mechanical, but the novel eventually hits its stride: as the traders read aloud the entries (actual text from Lewis's journals), they trigger Seaman's flashbacks. The canine's perspective, both fresh and original, is most effective in objectively relating a diverse array of customs and tribes. The narration strikes a note of humor, too, especially when Seaman offers insight into a dog's life: "Dogs know humans better than they will ever know us." Seaman's voice, however, does not adhere to a canine purview as cannily as Henrietta Branford's recent Fire, Bed and Bone, and the narrative occasionally lapses into admonishment (e.g., when Lewis berates himself for his failed iron boat scheme, Seaman mentally recounts the man's resume of accomplishments). An author's note offers little historical perspective on the expedition, but readers may well leave with a thirst for more of Lewis and Clark's adventures. Ages 10-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A wonderful story, loved reading about Seaman's adventures.
I loved this book
Best book ever! If you are doing a segment on Lewis & Clark you should get this book! Even if you are reading for pleasure you should get this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!