Aye, Governor Bradford calls us pilgrims. We are English and England was our home...But our lives were ruled by King James, and for many years it seemed as though our very hearts were in prison in England... September, 1620, our lives changed. We were seventy menfolk and womenfolk, thirty-two good children, a handful of cocks and hens, and two dogs, gathered together on a dock in Plymouth, England, ready to set sail for America in a small ship...
Aye, Governor Bradford calls us pilgrims. We are English and England was our home...But our lives were ruled by King James, and for many years it seemed as though our very hearts were in prison in England... September, 1620, our lives changed. We were seventy menfolk and womenfolk, thirty-two good children, a handful of cocks and hens, and two dogs, gathered together on a dock in Plymouth, England, ready to set sail for America in a small ship called the Mayflower...
In a text that mirrors their language and thoughts, Marcia Sewall has masterfully recreated the coming of the pilgrims to the New World, and the daily flow of their days during the first years in the colony they called Plimoth. And in stunning, light-filled paintings, she brings to brilliant life that important era in American history.
Chronicles, in text and illustrations, the day-to-day life of the early Pilgrims in the Plimouth Colony.
In journal-like passages that include quotes from original sources, Sewall gracefully and unerringly reconstructs the lives of the pilgrims. She takes readers from the journey out of England, financed by English merchants (``hoping to prosper in time by our successful settlement'') and to the building of many new townships around the original. The text is broken into sections: Pilgrims, Menfolk, Womenfolk, Children and Youngfolk, Plantation and Glossary. The hustle and bustle of each day is splendidly depicted in Sewall's pictures, which shine with the intensity of morning's first light. Hers are not the gloomy gray pilgrims of other tellings, but robust folk, the only kind who could have survived the settlement process. Squanto teaches them to plant corn ``when the oak bud had burst and the leaves were as big as a mouse's ear.'' Such facts, set like jewels into the text, mark this as the finest of nonfiction, which children will return to, again and again. (7-up)
- Marilyn Courtot
This is a story that details the reasons that the Pilgrims undertook their arduous journey to America and describes their early years establishing the Plimoth settlement. Sewall offers separate segments that detail the roles and responsibilities of the men, women and children. Even though half of the community died the first winter, the settlers persevered and managed to increase and prosper. A glossary defines the uncommon words found in the text. It provides a good introduction to life in New England in the first half of the seventeenth century. 1996 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 2 Up Written as a personal account, Sewall's book not only conveys the spirit and conviction of the Pilgrim experience, but also provides a bounty of historical information and domestic detail about the settlement at Plimoth and the people who survived those arduous first seasons in America. Sewall's extensive research is evident in her text and in the rich, simple oil paintings that reveal so much about the Pilgrims. Her illustrations, somewhat reflective of the American primitive style in the use of flat, thick strokes, are never static. Every scene is charged with energy and movement, depicting the flow of human exchange and relationships. Sewall also makes effective use of double-page space, creating wide-angle scenes, as in a bleak view of winter seen as through a screen of snow, or the overview of the Thanksgiving celebration. By adhering to traditional language and vocabulary (for which there is a glossary at the back), Sewall has captured the dignity of the Pilgrim voice, and lends a quiet, steady rhythm and intensity to the text as the collective ``we'' is repeated over and over, becoming a litany of events, customs, practices, and beliefs. Sewall's book is educational in the best sense: it is eloquent, evocative, factual, and lovely to behold. This is not a text for very young children (Alice Dalgliesh's The Thanksgiving Story Atheneum, 1954, also from a personal perspective, is more suitable), but even prereaders will respond to the stories so fully developed in these pictures. Susan Powers, Berkeley Carroll Street School, Brooklyn
Marcia Sewall has lived in New England all of her life, presently in Boston, and feels a deep attachment to the region. She is a graduate of Brown University in Rhode Island and has also studied at various art schools in the area.
Ms. Sewall's children's books have been among the New York Times best illustrated and ALA Notables and have been selected for exhibition by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and Bratislava International Biennale. She has taught art to students of all ages and at the present time she is teaching a course in children's book illustration.