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The Lost Colony Of Roanoke

The Lost Colony Of Roanoke

by Jean Fritz, Hudson Talbott (Illustrator)

The Lost Colony of Roanoke is one of the most puzzling mysteries in America's history. In 1587, 115 colonists sailed to the new world, eager to build the brand new Cittie of Raleigh, only to disappear practically without a trace. Where did they go? What could have possibly happened?

Who better to collect and share the clues than Jean Fritz and Hudson Talbott?


The Lost Colony of Roanoke is one of the most puzzling mysteries in America's history. In 1587, 115 colonists sailed to the new world, eager to build the brand new Cittie of Raleigh, only to disappear practically without a trace. Where did they go? What could have possibly happened?

Who better to collect and share the clues than Jean Fritz and Hudson Talbott?

The creators of Leonardo's Horse, an American Library Association Notable Book, again combine their masterful talents to illuminate a tragic piece of history that still fascinates Americans today.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Previously teamed for Leonardo's Horse, Fritz and Talbott now focus on the complicated, still-elusive story of English exploration off the Virginia coast in the 1580s. Studded with facts, anecdotes and historical asides, Fritz's rapid-fire account sets the scene at Queen Elizabeth's court, where Walter Raleigh's friend uses his "show stone" to look into the future and predict that the English would find, hidden behind a long cape, an island where they could settle ("later to be called Roanoke"). The action moves quickly from the successful preliminary exploratory voyage to the disastrous initial expedition of 500 men sent to form a colony; if readers skip even one sentence, they will be lost. Most of the time, fortunately, the writing will compel attention, especially when Fritz focuses on the English policy toward supposedly hostile Indians-"smite them hip and thigh"-and its possible consequences for the second colony, where Virginia Dare was famously born and, along with 114 others, disappeared into oblivion. A concluding section helps the audience assess theories about the fate of the settlers and grapple with a more searching question: "This is not only a mystery; it is a tragic story. And who is to blame for the tragedy?" Talbott's detailed watercolors feature miniature portraits of the principals as well as dramatic, sprawling scenarios. While the dense presentation is not ideally suited to the short format, middle-school readers who are up to a challenge will come away with both a deeper appreciation of a historical mystery and a fuller awareness of how historians sift it for clues and interpretations. Ages 7-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Visitors to North Carolina's Outer Banks encounter not only lovely scenery and abundant history, but an intriguing mystery that has captured the American imagination for generations: the lost colony. What happened to settlers left to fend for themselves while their leader, John White, returned to England for help and supplies? Settlers, including Virginia Dare, the first baby to be born in the new world, were last seen August 27, 1587. Deadly seas, hurricanes and England's war with Spain prevented timely assistance until years later when a rescue party returned to find nothing but an abandoned settlement and a tree with the word, "Croatan" carved on it. What happened? Truth is oftentimes more compelling than fiction; this is certainly the case with the mystery of the lost colony. The story includes famous historical figures such as Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh as well as heroes and villains from English aristocrats to Native Americans. Modern day "explorers" with their theories about the lost colony are included in this well-researched book. Talbott's lively illustrations are a treasure. Best of all, the book leaves the reader with more questions than answers. Hand this attractive book to a young reader who loves history or include this great find in school or public libraries. 2004, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Ages 12 up.
—Judy Crowder
There are few mysteries in America's past as enduring as that of the fate of the colonists at England's first settlement in the New World. More than one hundred people landed at Roanoke Island in 1587 to start a new life. One month later, hunger necessitated sending Governor John White to plead with Elizabeth I for assistance; however, war with Spain kept him from returning with supplies until 1590. When White's ship arrived at Roanoke, the only sign of the settlers were the letters "CRO" carved into a tree. Years of investigation-first by White, then future colonists, and finally by generations of historians-have failed to definitely reveal the settler's fate. The story of Roanoke is intrinsically interesting, and Fritz's book will attract those who enjoy mysteries and folklore. Talbott's illustrations are dramatic and descriptive of the events portrayed. The most intriguing part of the book is Fritz's description of the clues found and how each becomes part of the ultimate puzzle: Where did the people go? Was it starvation or a massacre? Did they give up on John White and become part of the Croatan Tribe? The book is appropriate for middle school and younger teens, but an older reader looking to use it for research would find little more factual information than in an encyclopedia. It is discussable and will incite class interest and debate. It is recommended for public libraries and middle school collections. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 64p.; Index. Illus. Biblio., PLB . Ages 11 to 15.
—Stephanie Petruso
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This fluidly written account describes the colony founded under the aegis of Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585. The opening section, "Looking," discusses the first attempt at settling the island and highlights the English policy regarding the Native population: "Never turn the other cheek" and "smite [hostile Indians] hip and thigh." When harsh conditions caused the men to return to England in 1586, 15 individuals were left behind to hold the colony. "Settling" describes how the second expedition arrived in 1587 and found the men gone, perhaps victims of the "hip and thigh" policy. The travails of these settlers began on landing and continued unabated until Governor John White agreed to sail to England to get help. "Lost" details White's frustrated attempts to get back to Virginia, and what he found when he finally returned two years later. In the final chapter, Fritz explores various theories about Roanoke's fate. She discusses the 1937 hoax involving stones with counterfeited inscriptions as well as current archaeological and historical exploration. Talbott's softly colored watercolor illustrations, ranging from cameo insets to two-page paintings, are at once detailed and impressionistic. Clever touches of humor abound. This book is superior to existing works such as Dan Mabry Lacy's The Lost Colony (Watts, 1972; o.p.). Fritz has scored again, making history breathe while showing both historians and archaeologists at their reconstructive best.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In 1585, Queen Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh supported an English settlement on Roanoke Island, between Cape Hatteras and Virginia. Every country wanted a piece of America, for the riches it contained. But this settlement vanished, and it has been a 400-year-old mystery as to why it disappeared and what happened to the colonists. It's a "hole right at the very beginning" of American history. Fritz doesn't pretend to solve the mystery, but she ably presents the history behind the failed attempt at establishing an English colony in the New World. The bibliography is small, but the maps are helpful. Lively storytelling, attractive watercolor illustrations, archaeological details, and a survey of theories make this a fascinating volume and an important resource on this period of early colonization. The history-as-mystery format will appeal to young historians. (author's note, index) (Nonfiction. 8+)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.40(d)
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Jean Fritz, the Newbery Honor-winning author of Homesick, is best known for her engaging and enlightening nonfiction for young readers, including What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?, And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?, and Shh! We're Writing the Constitution. She was honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature by the New York State Library Association, and won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her career contribution to American children's literature.

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