cover image The Mayflower

The Mayflower

Mark Greenwood, illus. by Frané Lessac. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2943-1

Lessac’s vivid, naïve gouache paintings illustrations draw readers into this husband-and-wife team’s straightforward account of the Pilgrims’ voyage to North America in 1620. A brief paragraph accompanying each spread details the two-month journey aboard the Mayflower: “Between the decks, families were separated for privacy by wooden dividers. They shared the damp, crowded space with chickens, goats, pigs, and two dogs.” From the travelers’ reasons for setting sail and living conditions aboard to food, a ferocious storm, and a man-overboard story, each part of the narrative comes to life in the artwork’s bold hues. Motifs abound, including dots of white foam on a turbulent blue-green sea and clumps of daisies that blossom in the spring as Squanto teaches the Pilgrims “how to plant corn and use fish to fertilize their fields.” The story concludes with the first Thanksgiving, as golden and ruddy fall leaves form a border around the final scene. A brief time line (which includes the proclamations of presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to commemorate Thanksgiving) and a resource list follow. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)