Written and Illustrated by P.J. Lynch
The beautiful and realistic illustrations in this engaging new book are a big part of the little-known story of one of the original settlers near Plymouth Rock. John Howland was a young servant indentured to William Bradford, leader of the Pilgrims and first governor of the Massachusetts colony. When the group set out on the two-month journey to America, John was obliged to come along. Lynch’s book gives a detailed version of the trek, from the loading on of supplies in London, to the various stops before leaving England, to the perils of the ocean crossing and setting up life on the new shore. During a storm at sea, John ventured out on the deck, only to be swept overboard. Luckily, a bolt of lightning showed him where a rope was hanging over the side of the boat, and he was rescued.
The Pilgrims were actually two groups who set out for Virginia. They merged when one of the ships set to transport them proved unseaworthy. The bad weather on the passage carried them two hundred miles north of their destination, but they decided to settle there anyway. Sickness, exposure, and starvation took out half the population in the first winter. The native Americans were wary but helpful. Squanto knew English as a result of being enslaved for a period. John Howland intended to return to England to make his fortune but decided to remain in New Plymouth.
Third graders and up will benefit greatly from this exciting tale. They will learn a truer history of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving. They can polish their literacy skills as well.
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- Title: The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune
- Author/Illustrator: P.J. Lynch
- Published: Candlewick, 2015
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 64 pages
- Grade Level: 2 to 5
- Genre: History, Narrative Nonfiction
- ISBN: 978-0-7636-6584-5
Written and Illustrated by Don Brown
Fire! Fire in the White House! Run away, run away, but Dolley Madison didn’t run away. She stopped to save the famous portrait of George Washington. It wasn’t a quick trick, either because the frame was too heavy to manage. She instructed some workmen to cut the portrait out of the frame and carry it to safety.
Don Brown’s biography begins with information about Dolley, including her charm, her ability to hostess wonderful parties, and her remodeling of the White House. He also tells readers how Dolley was actually related to George Washington by marriage.
The muted colors used in the illustrations are representative of the time. However, children will enjoy the great amount of action depicted in the story and the pictures. Teachers and librarians can use this biography to meet the core curriculum standards in literacy and American history. The author’s note also includes an interesting discussion about the many spellings of Dolley’s name. Students might use this as a springboard to studying other names with multiple meanings.
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- Title: Dolley Madison Saves George Washington
- Author/Illustrator: Don Brown
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Hardback, 32 pages
- ISBN: 978-0-544-58244-6
- Genre: Nonfiction Picture Book, Biography
- Grade level: PreK to 3
- Extras: Author’s Note, Bibliography