cover image The Pilgrims of Plimoth

The Pilgrims of Plimoth

Marcia Sewall. Atheneum Books, $16.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31250-2

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)