My Lady Pocahontasby Kathleen V. Kudlinski
My Lady Pocahontas tells an important early chapter of America’s history from the Pamunkey viewpoint as the drama of two clashing cultures unfolds.
Children's LiteratureAuthor of nonfiction and historical fiction, Kathleen Kudlinski explores the story of Pocahontas in this novel. Daughter of the powerful chief of the Powhatan Confederacy, Pocahontas, whose real name is Matoaka, is sent with a party of emissaries to find out what she can about the strangers who have settled Jamestown. But Pocahontas dreams of conversing with the strangers and, in time, bridging the gap between their two worlds. The ensuing conflicts that end up taking this visionary yet tragic character far from her home are revealed to readers through the perceptions of a fictional character. Neetah, this viewpoint figure, is a Pamunkey friend and companion to Pocahontas. Pocahontas is depicted as strong and heroic, her decisions driven by her internal struggle as well as the cultural conflicts in which she is caught up. In this, it is just as well that Kudlinski's Pocahontas is more akin to Paula Gunn Allen's than to Disney's. It should be noted that the part of all this that is commonly taken to be history is possibly a myth. The rescue of a heroic John Smith by a Native woman is a story that the present-day Powhatan Renape Nation has gone on record to counter. Of course it is all about perspective, since little documentation exists about the real Pocahontas' life. Also interspersed here are rather simplistic representations of Powhatan and related beliefs, replete with suggestions of angry gods and powerful priests-terms that sit awkwardly on the indigenous sensibilities of the characters, bringing to mind a long Eurocentric tradition of rendering otherness as exotic. An afterword, author's note, glossary, and selected reading list are included. 2006, Marshall Cavendish, Ages 10 to14.
VOYA - Christina FairmanThis novel is set during the early seventeenth century, when British exploration brought the first European settlers to North America. Pocahontas is coming-of-age in what is known today as Virginia, which was then controlled by a confederation of Algonkian tribes under the leadership of Pocahontas's father, the Powhatan Wahunsenecah. Difficulties arise when she serves as a spy in the nearby settlement of Jamestown, where she falls in love with Captain John Smith. Blinded by love, she sacrifices her loyalty to the Algonkians by warning Smith of an impending attack. This move sets in motion a life of betrayal and rejection for Pocahontas, who is trapped in an ambiguous middle ground between two cultures. This book skillfully accentuates the inherent problems that faced native people as Europeans expanded into North America. Readers will appreciate the varied depictions of cultural differences between the two groups, including the roles of women and children, religion, daily activities, hygiene, and warfare. Oddly, however, readers likely will not learn as much about Pocahontas herself. Kudlinski misses an opportunity to delve sufficiently into the intense emotion that would have surrounded her various life decisions. The character of her servant, Neetah, is much more strongly defined; her experiences accurately reflect the internal struggles that one would expect at such a dramatic point in history. Overall this book is weak as a biographical source but informative as a cultural study.
School Library JournalGr 6-8-Abundant historical detail underlies this rich fictional account of the life of Pocahontas. Based on extensive in-depth research and told largely from the Native American viewpoint, the story highlights how difficult it was to develop lines of communication and understanding. The tale begins in 1607 when Pocahontas is about 11 years old. Her spunky and fearless nature comes across as she spies on the strange new people, along with her fictitious friend Neetah, to bring information back to her people. Neetah is a well-drawn character whose differences from and devotion to Pocahontas help move the story along. In addition to the well-known lore about her subject, Kudlinski fills this story with details about the hardships faced by the English and the Native Americans. The ineptitude of the English as they try to cope with the harsh, primitive conditions amazes Pocahontas and her people, but eventually they learn from each other. It is a difficult liaison with much killing on both sides. The English are characterized as intruders who try to take the land on which the Native Americans have been living for generations and to erase their rich culture. The book reads like an adventure, and it is amazing to learn of Pocahontas's accomplishments when she is so young. Helpful appendixes include sources, Web sites, and a list identifying Algonquin names. This is a fine selection for interdisciplinary study of early America to be read along with Jean Fritz's The Double Life of Pocahontas (Putnam, 1983).-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
- Amazon Childrens Publishing
- Publication date:
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
- Age Range:
- 10 - 14 Years
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