Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks for Everything!

Chapter One Reviews is very thankful this year. I am thankful to writers and illustrators for the many wonderful books I read. I am thankful for the ability to tell people about my favorites. I am thankful to you, my readers, for reading my opinions (I hope they help.) I am thankful for my family that indulges my addiction to books and encourages me to write this column. All of this Thanksgiving brings me to a new book about the famous Plimouth Pilgrims. Enjoy!

“Two Bad Pilgrims”
By Kathryn Lasky
Illustrated by John Manders
For 4 – 10

“Two Bad Pilgrims” is not your standard Thanksgiving fare. It is not a boring tale of pious, voyagers seeking religious freedom in the New World. It is the tale of America’s first troublemakers — Francis and Johnny Billington — real-life children who seemed to cause trouble wherever they went. Are you ready to hear their side of the story?

The Billington boys describe everything about the 66-day journey on the Mayflower — vomiting, boredom, playing with musket lighters and almost blowing up the ship. Following these rascals through the foundation of Plimouth Plantation, the “great sickness,” and eventual peaceful relations with the neighboring Nauset Indians we learn that the Pilgrims were a mixed bag of folks. Some were upright and pious as we have learned, but others were adventurers and ruffians who weren’t averse to digging up a few Native American graves.

The comic book-style art will capture the attention of young readers and the boys’ unruly adventures will keep them engaged to the very end of the book. “Two Bad Pilgrims” is laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly educational. It’s filled with Pilgrim facts young readers will actually retain, which is great, as long as they don’t retain the bad behavior as well.

Whether you think you know everything about the Pilgrims or you’re just learning the story, “Two Bad Pilgrims” should be on your reading list. It will be great for those long trips over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house this Thanksgiving.