Prolific storyteller Jane Yolen marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's arrival by channeling the voice of Plymouth Rock itself. A funny (and fact-checked!) look at a historical monument.
The history of Plymouth Rock is explained--by the rock itself. Playful, clever verses offer a comprehensive window into the events leading up to the 1620 landing and beyond, dispelling common misconceptions along the way. Alternating with Rock's poems is a witty analysis of the truthfulness of its statements, told in the voice of the Fact Checker. Truly a book for today's savvy media consumers.
About the Author
Jane Yolen is the award-winning author of over three hundred children's books including Last Laughs: Prehistoric Epitaphs; Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs; Bad Girls (with Heidi E. Y. Stemple); Owl Moon, a Caldecott Medal Winner; the How Do Dinosaurs . . . ? series; and Sea Queens. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of the Americas.
Sam Streed is a children's book author/illustrator, game artist, and animator. He is the author/illustrator of Alfred's Book of Monsters and is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design.
In this informative picture book, the anthropomorphic Plymouth Rock describes its history. An unnamed fact checker, who appears to be a light-skinned young woman with red glasses and a bun, confirms or corrects the rock’s story. The rock’s rhyming prose is written on an unrolled scroll of paper. Red ink is used to clarify or dispel the rock’s take on its own history. For example, “The disembarkers stepped on me,/ first footfalls toward their liberty,” claims the rock. However, the fact checker writes, “No large rock or stepping stone is mentioned in any of the travelers’ journals or logs.” Yolen also addresses the Indigenous community. The fact checker provides an honest account of how the colonizers impacted Native people: “More and more colonists soon arrived and took Native land to build their houses. They treated the Native people brutally and dishonestly.” Both Yolen’s text and Streed’s cartoon illustrations are inviting. At times the poetry is a tad awkward (“Now placed in/ a portico,/ my life once more/ is put on show”) but in general, the poetry keeps pace with the prose. This title is best suited to an audience who has some familiarity with Plymouth Rock. VERDICT Humorous pictures supplement prose and poetry to create a unique, clever, engaging picture book about one aspect of early American history. —School Library Journal