Re-creates early American settlements by describing in words and pictures various aspects of the colonists' lives including work, food, clothing, shelter, religion, and relationships with Native Americans.
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Imagine compressing one hundred years of American history into 48 pages! Imagine making history come alive with photographs of people dressed in period costumes, slipping in odd historical facts while debunking myths, tucking in colonial crafts kids can try at home, and providing a sympathetic narrator who attempts to present the point of view of European settlers, Native Americans, African slaves, and indentured servants. The author of this title and American Revolution, 1700-1800 (see above) in the "Chronicle of America" series, tries hard, but the snippets selected to add interest, the overly dramatic prose, lack of sources, and excessive compression of complex issues make this title less than successful. Each double-paged layout tackles a new topic. Those include the voyage, first Americans, food, clothing, shelter, education, warfare, illness, farming, crafts, and the like. Topics usually begin with questions in italics to stimulate reader interest. For example: "How would you feel if you sat down to a dinner of meat loaf with maggots?" An introductory paragraph or two follows with short discussions of related topics, three or four uncaptioned photographs of people and objects from America's Living History Museums, and a tan, blue, or red box with a "surprising history" snippet, or a colonial craft to try. Unsupported statistics abound, "In the early days of the European settlements, 80 percent of the people who came to Virginia died once they got there." Or, "It took 2500 trees to build a ship the size of the Mayflower." Or, "After months at sea with no fresh food, is it any wonder that some early settlers were forced to turn to cannibalism?" The glossy photos and breezy tone will appeal to young history enthusiasts, but caution should be exercised lest the reader come away with some very odd ideas about the past. The author concludes with a few titles for further reading, Web sites, picture credits, and an index. (Nonfiction. 10-12) -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-7-Masoff invites readers to imagine what life was like in America in the 1600s. Following a discussion of how and why the settlers came, she covers life on board a ship crossing the Atlantic. She spares no details in describing the hardships that the colonists faced when they arrived, including lack of food and housing, improper clothing, and a mind-set that led to myriad difficulties and frequently death for newcomers. Colored sidebars offer interesting tidbits as well as activities to try. Historical footnotes in blue boxes delve into such topics as cannibalism in Jamestown. Red boxes suggest activities such as cloth dyeing, while "Surprising History" is introduced in parchment-colored boxes. Unfortunately, several sweeping generalizations mar an otherwise sound text. In a chapter on Native Americans, the author states that if they had banded together to fight the Europeans, "-America would never have been colonized." While discussing religion, she states improbably, "People did not miss church in the 1600s-EVER." The book ends with brief descriptions of several sites that can be visited today. While similar in scope to Betsy Maestro's The New Americans (Lothrop, 1998), Masoff's book is visually superior. Captivating, full-color photographs, often several to a page, depict scenes and reenactments from living-history museums. Both browsers and researchers will find this volume intriguing.
Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción Scholastic Reference, 2000. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX043905107X
Descripción Scholastic Reference, 2000. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 043905107X
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