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School Library Journal Review
Gr 2-6-When the good ship Sparrowhawk is wrecked near Plymouth in 1626, a 13-year-old indentured orphan passenger is lodged with Elder William Brewster's family until his journey to Jamestown can continue. This is Christopher Sears's account of his stay there, written in journal form in comfortably large print and liberally illustrated with handsome colored woodcuts. His entries offer brief yet penetrating glimpses of Pilgrim life and his own hopes and fears, and his conversational narrative provides easily absorbed information on early American food, housing, religion, clothing, family life, and the local Indians. The strict Puritans of stocks and eight-hour Sabbath services are here, as are the fun-loving, dancing and drinking Pilgrims and ``Strangers'' of the colony. The youthful voice and observations, in language that is a remarkable blend of clarity and period flavor, provide a more intimate and involving picture of the period than more straightforward factual accounts. However, while there are many facts here-indeed, young readers might mistakenly assume that the journal itself is a historical document-there are no sources or notes. Bowen plays with the timing of at least one incident, and it would be interesting to know where any other liberties have been taken. Also, unfamiliar terms appear and their meanings are not always deducible from the context. Still and all, this is a lively, quality addition. Marcia Sewall's The Pilgrims of Plimoth (Atheneum, 1986) is more straightforward, is told in quainter language, and is illustrated with expressionistic paintings.-Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.