Two Bad Pilgrims

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Everybody knows about the Pilgrims-pious, sober voyagers who sought new lives in the New World. But two very bad Pilgrims have been largely forgotten by history, and they're ready to tell their story! Real-life boys Francis and Johnny Billington nearly blew up the Mayflower, got kidnapped by Indians, and wreaked havoc wherever they went.

Award-winning author Kathryn Lasky and illustrator John Manders reveal the lives of America's first troublemakers-as well as tons of ...

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Overview

Everybody knows about the Pilgrims-pious, sober voyagers who sought new lives in the New World. But two very bad Pilgrims have been largely forgotten by history, and they're ready to tell their story! Real-life boys Francis and Johnny Billington nearly blew up the Mayflower, got kidnapped by Indians, and wreaked havoc wherever they went.

Award-winning author Kathryn Lasky and illustrator John Manders reveal the lives of America's first troublemakers-as well as tons of fascinating Pilgrim facts-with kid-friendly humor and energetic comic book'style art in this irreverent book that is part history, part parody, and all comedy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Not all Pilgrims were “goody-goodies,” explains narrator Standish Brewster, a professor of “Pilgrimology.” Case in point: Johnny and Francis Billington (“So we nearly blew up the Mayflower. It wasn't like we meant to!” the boys insist). Cartoon graphic novel–style panels depict the Pilgrims' arrival, as Brewster provides scholarly background and the boys interject in speech balloons, complaining about how boring the Mayflower was or objecting to the settlers' taking a kettle full of corn from the natives (“When we do it, they call it stealing. When they do it, they call it 'A Special Providence of God.' ”). The boys' comic hubris and the snappy format enliven a familiar history lesson. Ages 5–up. (Aug.)
Booklist
. . . the boys' rascally antics make for a light and humorous tone that should keep attentions invested throughout.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Young readers will be intrigued right from the get-go as they are introduced to the Billington boys who almost blew up the Mayflower. Lasky explains in her author's note in the back of the book how she came across these boys and their parents while working on a previous book about the Pilgrims and she wanted to tell their story. The result is a lively and informational text accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations that will capture the imagination of its readers. Anyone who thought all those on the Mayflower were prim, proper, and prayerful will learn something new. Solid historical information about the arrival and first year of the Pilgrims is presented from the perspective of a professor with side conversations between Johnny and Francis Billington. Just as one would expect from these hooligans, the banter in their dialogue balloons is humorously irreverent. The illustrations are a combined cartoon/picture book/graphic novel style. This new perspective will be an effective way to introduce a Thanksgiving unit to those who think they have heard it all before. Boys in particular will gravitate to this book. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
Kirkus Reviews
Standish Brewster, professor of Pilgrimology, attempts diligently to tell the tale of the establishment of Plimoth Plantation while the two bad Pilgrims of the title, acknowledged troublemakers (they nearly blew up the Mayflower) John and Francis Billington, kibbitz with energy: "When we do it, they call it stealing. When they do it, they call it ‘a special providence of God,' " Johnny says tartly. Manders ably adapts his style to graphic storytelling, sequencing panels and placing speech balloons for maximum comedic effect. In spite of John and Francis's gleeful efforts to thwart him, Professor Brewster manages to deliver a substantial amount of information about the Pilgrims and their first years, making this account easily one of the most enjoyably educational ones kids will encounter this season. (author's note) (Graphic nonfiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670061686
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/20/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: GN580L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathryn Lasky has written many fiction and nonfiction books for children, including the Newbery Honor book Sugaring Time. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

John Manders has illustrated more than 30 books, including Peter Spit a Seed at Sue (Viking). In 2006, the Pennsylvania School Librarian's Association named him an "Outstanding Illustrator/Author." He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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