Title: This is the Erie Canal
Author: Rebecca Newswanger
Major Themes: Erie Canal, New York
Synopsis: When the early settlers in America needed a cheap, quick way to move products from one side of the country to the other, they found the solution in building the Erie Canal.
I have been going through a study of American history with my 6-year-old this year, and one topic we just studied was the Erie Canal. I happened to have bought a picture book about it recently, so we made sure to read This is the Erie Canal after we read the recommended books. Rebecca Newswanger’s story and Rosene Wine’s delightful drawings made this book a pleasure to read together.
When settlers first arrived in North America, they found a wilderness with no roads. Mountains, covered with thick forest, made it difficult to travel around. The Indians used creeks and rivers as roads, but the waterways didn’t go everywhere that people needed to transport their goods. What should be done about this problem?
De Witt Clinton came up with an idea: build a canal across the state of New York. He set to work to organize the job and raise the money for it. After much hard work and several years, the job was completed. Locks had been built and the canal and towpath were complete. Now, people could easily and cheaply travel and haul goods from one side of the country to the other!
The story in this book is engaging. It clearly shows the dilemma faced by the settlers, and what they did about it. The pictures are the best part, though! They are simple, clear pencil drawings. I love the details in them. This is the Erie Canal is a book we’ll read from time to time.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9