Children's Literature - Sheilah EganPart of the "A Beginning-to-Read" series, this title would be suitable through its illustrations for the reinforcement of the history of the Pilgrims departure from England to America via Holland. The text is aimed at the beginning reader, but it would need explanation to put it into historical perspective. The opening lines "I want you to go here. You have to do what I want. Go here. Go here." show a regally dressed person that children may recognize as "the king" pointing to a church building while two men dressed as "typical Pilgrims" (many historians do not think that Pilgrims wore square-shaped shoe buckles/ornaments) stand with heads down, looking forlorn. The two Pilgrims' entry through a rounded door is accompanied with text that reads "You can not do what you like. Get in here. Get in here. This is the spot for you." The next page shows the men in foot stocks in a stone-walled room with straw on the floor and a number of mice/rats. "We do not like this." And, so the plan is made to go away on a "big, big boat"of course, by our standards it was actually extremely small. First they go to Holland, identified by the pictures of windmills and a storks' chimney nest and then we read "I guess Father and Mother did not like it." Young children can grasp that concept but the idea that the religious persecution was just a continuation of what was endured in England is not part of this story. "Now, sit down. Sit down. It is good to have something to eat. It is good to have friends," accompanies the illustration of the feast shared by the Natives and the "newcomers." The "Reading Reinforcement" pages at the back and the word list also found there will be of interest to those helpingemergent readers to become more confident. Not recommended as a first purchase unless the need for the most basic of texts is a priority.
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