Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Review: The Adventures of Plimoth Plantation by Marian R. Carlson

This year is the 400th Anniversary of the pilgrims' landing! I didn't know that either until just recently. Luckily, I was introduced to this love children's book, which takes readers from the moment the Mayflower set to sea all the way through the first Thanksgiving. And that through the eyes of a journaling mouse. The author sticks heavily to the facts and time period, yet still presents everything in a way, which is sure to grab young listeners'/readers' interest. But enough about that...
I'll simply let you discover it for yourself!

by Marian R. Carlson
Children's Historical Fiction
54 pages
ages 4 to 10

Celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing, 1620-2020!

This book offers a fresh and engaging perspective on one of the most pivotal events in America’s history. It provides young readers with a deeper understanding of how the Pilgrims’ strength, tenacity and faith-filled perseverance not only led them to success in their own pursuit of a better life but also shaped the core values of America. Through delightful narration, vibrant illustrations and excerpts from real historical documents, children can form a deeper appreciation of how the Pilgrims’ sacrifices paved the way to a nation built on the spirit of freedom and fearlessness. The use of passages from the journal of William Bradford ignites a love of history early on, demonstrates the value of journal-keeping, and encourages young readers to research their unique family histories and document their findings as they embark on unique adventures of their own.


The voyage of the Mayflower and it's inhabitants comes to life in  a way younger readers/listeners can connect to...and will wish they could meet 'William Bradford' themselves.

William Bradford is a mouse, who accidentally finds himself on board of the Mayflower and a great adventure. His next of the ship gives him the perfect opportunity to watch the colonists and document in his journal the various experiences he and they have. From the moment the ship sets to sea to the very first months in America, this little mouse relates the ups and downs, struggles and successes of this early voyage.

This little mouse is quite adorable and a great way to bring across an historic event in an age appropriate manner. While not for the youngest listeners/readers (the text is too heavy for them), readers from Kindergarten to the forth grade will gain a greater understanding of what the Mayflower voyage was about, what trails the people faced, and learn a little more about American history. While this can be read by those, who have a good handle on words, I'd recommend it as a read aloud. The events open up room for discussion and questions as well as offer a great addition to any environment where this topic is being handled. 

The journal form gives the entire thing a more serious and 'historic' atmosphere. Still, it's written in a way, which draws in and lets the adventure build a little bit of tension to keep boredom at bay. The down-side of this form is that the mouse and adventure is always kept at an arm length away, but considering the purpose of the book, that's not a problem. The various moments of the journey and colonization are presented in an easy to understand manner, and listeners/readers will have a greater appreciation of what these people faced. The balance between fact and fiction is well done and especially good for classrooms, group settings, or simply those who want to share a little more about the Mayflower history to their own young reader.

And here she is...

Marian “Hannah” Carlson has enjoyed a busy and varied career. As a former syndicated newspaper columnist, she wrote more than 100 articles for parents about education in the home. As a public school teacher in Lexington and Brookline, Massachusetts, she received special recognition from the Harvard Graduate School of Education for her programs for middle school students. Carlson has won the New England Book Show’s Best in Category – Elementary to High School Award and the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for her book “John Adams: The Voice Heard ‘Round the World,” which was put to music by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s original score and narrated by Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough on CD. Her other books include “American Genius: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,” “In Search of the Great American Writers,” and “Yankee Doodle’s Pen.”  To learn more about Carlson and her work, visit schoolmasterpress.com.

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