by P.J. Lynch
At a young age, John Howland learned what it meant to take advantage of an opportunity. Leaving the docks of London on the Mayflower as an indentured servant to Pilgrim John Carver, John Howland little knew that he was embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. By his great good fortune, John survived falling overboard on the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, and he earned his keep ashore by helping to scout a safe harbor and landing site for his bedraggled and ill shipmates. Would his luck continue to hold amid the dangers and adversity of the Pilgrims’ lives in New England? John Howland’s tale is masterfully told in his own voice, bringing an immediacy and young perspective to the oft-told Pilgrims’ story. P.J. Lynch captures this pivotal moment in American history in precise and exquisite detail, from the light on the froth of a breaking wave to the questioning voice of a teen in a new world.
I have to say that the story of the voyage of the Mayflower has always intrigued me. This picture book provides a look into the voyage through the eyes of indentured slave, John Howland. Partway through the trip, Howland did indeed fall off the Mayflower. He was able to grab a trailing rope and was pulled up by some of the men on board. He also tells the story of the unpleasant first years in the New World including the disease, death and eventual arrival of Samoset and Squanto. The Boy Who Fell off the Mayflower also comes complete with a romantic interest for Howland in the strong-willed Lizzy Tilley who ultimately helps Howland decide if he should go back to England to seek his fortune after his master dies, or stay and build a life in the New World.
I would recommend The Boy Who Fell Off The Mayflower for grades 3-5 as a read aloud and 4-6 as an independent read. There is quite a bit of new vocabulary that is defined in context.
Listen to the author discuss this book and the story behind it. Really interesting!
Take a look inside The Boy Who Fell off the Mayflower by P.J.