Review: A Journey to the New World

A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower, 1620 (Dear America)A Journey to the New World
by Kathryn Lasky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Journey to the New World (Mayflower) / 0-590-50214-X

Like so many of the Dear America series, this book has wonderful history; the journey across the sea is so real, you can almost feel the narrator's sea sickness. The arrival in the New World is presented realistically: full of hope, joy, and gratitude for the safe arrival, and yet with hunger, fear, and dread quickly setting in. Will they be able to build homes in time for the winter? Will they be able to find, grow, and hunt enough food to keep from starving to death? And what new illnesses assail them here, in this new world?

I particularly appreciate the fairness with which the author treats the American Indians. A host of historical research shows that the settlers were remarkably impressed with the visage, bearing, and abilities of these people. Dear America correctly portrays the settlers as being grateful for the help they receive from the Americans. The diarist in particular is entranced at the American Indians' swimming abilities - she wonders if she could learn such a thing, or would she instantly die from exposure to so much water?

Parents should be aware that there is a great deal of illness and death here. The colonists are weakened by the cold weather and long crossing. The diarist is particularly downcast when her best friend has to pack up and head back to England because her father is too disheartened to continue after his wife's death. The colonists' hunger and desperation are tangible, and small children may be disconcerted when reading.

~ Ana Mardoll

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