Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower (Candlewick Press)

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower tells the story of John Howland. The story is told from his viewpoint in first person narrative. He begins by telling us about London and how he liked the city (despite the smell), but is being forced to leave it because of a difference of religion. He and others must therefore escape to America. They are readying the Mayflower in secret, for fear of being caught and killed. When they finally did escape, they arrived at Holland and waited for another boat, the Speedwell, to arrive so they could sail together. The Speedwell was poorly named, because it was slow and leaky. In order for the Mayflower to continue on, they had to leave the companion boat behind and half the people decided not to venture to the New World after all. The story continues on to its famous scene of Howland falling off the boat and miraculously being rescued and surviving when so many others died on that boat. We then see their arrival at the New World, choosing of a governor, meeting of the Native Americans and Squanto, and other interesting stories. The book ends with an editor's note that tells us about Howland's marriage, ten children, and 88 grandchildren.

This was truly a fascinating read that made history come alive. It also told a different side of a familiar story that many, myself included, did not know. The illustrations are really well-done, and the overall presentation and tone of the book were spot on.

This book was provided to me for free by Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.