LEWIS & CLARK

Guess what came in the mail this last Saturday? That’s right—Nick Bertozzi’s Lewis & Clark!

If you are familiar with First Second‘s books, then you know they have a fairly standard size. Whether the book is hardcover or soft, most of their books are pretty close to 6″ x 9″.

Right out of the box, I was surprised to see Lewis & Clark at 8.5″ x 9″! It’s closer in size to something Image might put out. Check out how it compares in scale to Gipi’s Notes for a War Story (First Second Books) and Nick’s own The Salon (Griffin)—it’s huge!

I know, I know…it’s big. So what? Um…that’s it, I guess. I think it’s cool?

Lewis & Clark is a fantastic book on all levels. The leaders’ journey to find a dependable water connection for commerce in the early 1800’s is an important part of American history and a notable subject in our elementary school education, and I love how Nick has tackled the task of putting the journey into comics form for a different kind of reader.

In the introduction, Nick talks about how the book is not meant to be a substitute for the study of the journey, nor is it meant to replace history books on the subject. Rather, Lewis & Clark was made to communicate the experience of the expedition, and that’s just what Nick’s done. With beautiful ink drawings and in a variety of landscapes, maps and vignettes, Nick explores early America, the Native American people, the psyche of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and the dangers and adventures they encountered.

In short: Lewis & Clark is a thoroughly enjoyable book to read and makes for an exciting introduction to their journey. Yesterday and today have found me drawing little Lewises and Clarks and Native Americans in my sketchbook and last night I dreamed about drawing some of the landscapes with a nice brush and container of black ink… Now that I’ve read the book, it’s fun re-reading Nick’s post on Drawing Words & Writing Pictures about making the book.

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