Martha E. Kendall. This handsomely packaged introduction to our country’s first great public works project pairs plenty of period prints and photos to a fluidly written account of the canal’s origins, construction, uses, and the folklore surrounding it. Paying tribute to De Witt Clinton, without whom the structure would never have existed, the author traces the canal’s progress from widely scorned first proposal to grand opening. She goes on to describe life on and along the canal through the next century and three-quarters and closes with its designation in 2000 as a National Heritage Corridor. Readers will come away impressed by the magnitude of the engineering achievement and with a clear idea of the significant role the canal played in the economic and historical development of the U.S. Well endowed with maps and multimedia resource lists. 128pp. Ages 9-12, National Geographic Children’s Books, 2008.