Back when I was offered to review Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers by Susan Kilbride, she also asked me if I would be interested in reviewing her newest historical fiction book for children called The Pilgrim Adventure.
This is Ms. Kilbride's first book in her Our America series. It is a story about Finn and Ginny, two children whose parents disappeared when they accidentally mistook a time machine for a television remote control. Once the childrens' uncle reveals to them what really happened, they decide to try to go back in time to locate their parents. They find themselves on the Mayflower coming to America. And then the adventures begin.
This book is an easy, informative, and fun read with fairly short chapters (I find that important when reading to younger children.) The story is told from the perspective of two children who are traveling to America on the Mayflower and then settling there. There are hardships, most definitely, and many obstacles to overcome.
I liked the book in that names of historical figures and events were included in the story as though they were just regular characters and plots in a book. There might be a downfall in this, however, if the parent or child reading the book did not previously know of those characters or events. They might get overlooked and not bear any significance. I like to read other non-fiction and fictional picture books while reading a chapter book to reinforce the topics, but not all teachers do that. For me, if I read the name of a historical figure, I then have my children read other books about that person so they understand why he or she was significant to the story and time.
I felt that the story moved along quickly and the point of the story was clear. It was enjoyable for my children, who are 7 and 8, although the book says it is recommended for ages 10 and up. For me, I think the book is more suited for ages 7-12. I know that my son, who is 15, would not have enjoyed the book. He would have felt that it was lacking in adventure for his age.
Ms. Kilbride has a companion site available with activities to do along with the book, such as making a family tree, a pocket, sea biscuits, and a quadrant. I think this is an invaluable tool, especially if you teach the way that I do. My favorite way to teach is to take a piece of literature, add other related books and videos, and do activities that relate to the book. The listed activities make that easy. I did feel that the activities were a bit difficult for my 7 and 8 year old. They were certainly more suited for ages 10 and up.
The only thing that would have been helpful to me is if there was an appendix at the end of the books with a chapter-by-chapter list of all historical figures and events. That would have made planning in advance a whole lot easier. For example, in Chapter 14 it mentions wattle and daub houses. To have known that in advance, I could have prepared an activity ahead of time instead of having to quickly gather the supplies and methods when I read it in the chapter. I just like to be more prepared. (That being said, there is a reference to a website about "Building a Home" in the Bibliography. I am talking more about a chapter-by-chapter list for advance preparation as each chapter is read.)
Other than that, the book was fun, educational, and very enjoyable, and I recommend it as an addition to your library.
Ms. Kilbride's second book in the series The King Phillip's War Adventure is available for purchase now.
AND today and tomorrow, Amazon is offering The Pilgrim Adventure as a FREE Kindle download! Go there to download it to your electronic device (it can be downloaded to devices other than Kindle).
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts and comments are my own.