Project Description

Teacher’s Guide


The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis & Clark

by Gail Langer Karwoski
illustrated by James Watling

It is 1804, the year that Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the Corps of Discovery set out for their now-legendary exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, departing St. Louis to travel across the continent to the Pacific Ocean and back.

This fictionalized biography of Lewis and Clark’s journey introduces Seaman, a 150-pound Newfoundland dog and unheralded member of the Corps, to young historians. Seaman travels the long journey with the Corps, playing a key role in the expedition’s success by catching and retrieving game, and protecting the team from wild animals and hostile Native Americans.

Gail Langer Karwoski’s thrilling account of Lewis and Clark’s expedition with the Corps of Discovery, Seaman, and eventually Sacagawea, full of accurate details drawn from Lewis’s own diary entries, will draw readers into one of the most exciting chapters in American history.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-276-7
Publication Date: 4/1/2003
Page Count: 192
Size: 6 ̎ x 9 ̎
Age Range: 8 – 12
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Price: $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-56145-190-6
Publication Date: 3/1/1999
Page Count: 192
Size: 6 ̎ x 9 ̎
Age Range: 8 – 12
Language: English
Format: eBook
ISBN: 978-1-56145-612-3
Age Range: 8 – 12
Language: English

Purchase this eBook through the following vendors:

Barnes & Noble

AR Level: 6.0
F&P: GRL U, Gr 5, Genre HF
Lexile: 800L
Themes: Lewis and Clark, Pioneer Life, Western Expansion
BISAC 1: JUV016140 JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / 19th Century
BISAC 2: JUV002070 JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Dogs
BISAC 3: JUV001000 JUVENILE FICTION / Action & Adventure / General


“James Watling’s many handsome, shaded-pencil drawings will help readers visualize the setting, hardships, and dramatic moments of the story; and two maps will enable them to follow the explorers’ route. An effective, fictional introduction to the Lewis and Clark expedition.” ―Booklist

“Once young readers begin this fictional account of the dog’s role in the expedition, they will be caught up in the drama and action and even reluctant readers will find it just too good to put down.” ―School Library Journal

“In this well-researched and finely written book for young readers, Gail Karwoski brings the story back to life through the expedition’s most unlikely and endearing hero… Seaman, the first dog to cross the continent.” ―Dayton Duncan, co-author with Ken Burns of Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery

“Its atmosphere is realistic, its timetable is accurate, and its events and characterizations are grounded in fact. Seaman joins the intrepid explorers in the tale with a personality all his own…. This soundly researched, smoothly written story will bring the entire expedition alive for readers 8 to 12, adding not only a canine but a human element to a tale that never grows wearisome. Nobody knows what happened to Seaman after his Western adventures, but he has certainly left one good book behind him.” ―Parade


Pick of the Lists ―American Booksellers Association, 1999

Children’s Books Mean Business ―American Booksellers Association and Children’s Book Council Joint Committee, 2003

Volunteer State Book Awards (Master List, Grades 4-6) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians 2000-2001

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Georgia Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―University of Georgia 1999

Prairie Pasque Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―South Dakota Library Association, SDRC, SD State Library, SD Elementary School Principals 2001-2002

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Meet the Author

Gail Langer Karwoski taught third- and fourth-grade students for many years. She received a BA from the University of Massachusetts and an MA from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Georgia. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

James Watling lives in Canada, where he is a professor of art education at McGill University. He has illustrated over twenty-five books for children.