The historical context of this picture book makes it worthy of the Caldecott Honor it was given in 1955. Author Alice Dalgleish and illustrator Helen Sewell have portrayed the struggle of a pilgrim family as they leave their home in England to begin their trek to a new, unknown homeland. After a harrowing journey aboard the Mayflower, the Hopkins family encounters countless challenges when arriving in New Plymouth ( so named because they had set sail from Plymouth, England.) Eventually the settlers sought help from the Native Americans and with hard work constructed seven small houses, one of which became home for the Hopkins family. This children’s book is a solid introduction to one aspect of our nation’s beginning and young readers should find it compelling as they learn how difficult it was for these new settlers to even survive. Readers will learn “only sailors can be out on deck while sails were being set,” and how families made charcoal fires in an iron box to cook their “big pots of porridge or soup or stew” aboard ship. They will ride through storms and sickness. They will read about happier times and even the birth of babies, with names like “Oceanus, and Remember.” Children will learn of the struggles the Pilgrims faced and of the kindness of Squanto and Chief Massasoit. This picture book will help teach the obvious differences in lifestyles as children learn about how the Native Americans helped the settlers survive. The story ends with a feast which the Hopkins family attended. “The Pilgrims were free in this new land, they did not forget the hard times, they had many things to be grateful for.”
You will enjoy reading this new book. Since you are really talented at making all sorts of boats, you can learn about this ship called the Mayflower. Do you think you would have liked to take a trip like the one these children were on?
Love you, Grams
Gift with: Replica of a ship, Pilgrim hats, Beads to make necklaces, Early map of the colonies
Gift to: Children studying about American history, Families who enjoys sailing, Child who likes adventure