Children's Literature - Jan LiebermanThis tale is written in an "I Can Read" format but is deceptive in its simplicity. This is a balanced account of Columbus' life and voyages including the treatment of the Indians. Short sentences can be informative, too. The title is a misnomer. Librarians, do not class in 394! This is more than a holiday book. 1992, (orig.
School Library JournalGr 1-3-- This informative, easy-to-read book presents some basic facts about Columbus's life and voyages, explains the origins of the holiday, and attempts to deal with the man's role as invader as well as explorer. Liestman tells, in clear but simple terms, why 15th-century Europeans wanted a sea route to Eastern Asia, gives a few details about Columbus's voyage, and relates how, after landing, Columbus and his men saw the friendly Indians as potential slaves and behaved accordingly. She explains that Columbus's men began to lose respect for him (but does not mention that he fell out of favor in Spain as well), and then shifts, rather abruptly, to his death in 1506. She concludes with a plea to remember the Native Americans who died as a result of his voyage and ``that when we explore, we must be good to the life we meet along the way.'' The writing is occasionally choppy, but Liestman has made one of the few attempts to deal objectively with Columbus for this audience. Hanson's watercolors provide appropriate illustrations; there is no map of the voyages. The book is free of the fictionalization that mars Robert Young's Let's Celebrate Christopher Columbus (Silver Press, 1991) and is an excellent choice for beginning readers' reports and classroom discussion. --Jean H. Zimmerman, Willett School, South River, NJ
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