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If You Lived In Colonial Times Paperback – May 1, 1992


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gives a great deal of information and is nicely appropriate to the capability of the beginning reader.... The illustrations are plentiful, attractive, and often humorous.... The young reader can get a good picture of daily life in the colonial period." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, 6/7/64

About the Author

Ann McGovern has been writing children's books for over 35 years. She has published over 45 titles including STONE SOUP, several books in the IF YOU LIVED.... series, and SCRAM, KID! (Viking, 1974), which won the Horn Book Award. McGovern spent part of her career at Scholastic, where she created the See-Saw Book Club. McGovern lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Series: If You…
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Updated edition (May 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059045160X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590451604
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ann McGovern is the author of over 55 books for children and sales of her books exceed 30 million. She is the author of the classics STONE SOUP and TOO MUCH NOISE, as well as several IF YOU LIVED... books.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Life in New England in colonial times was hard, a good growing year and people could eat well, a bad growing year and there was hunger. Harvest was an especially busy time, as everyone had to work all hours to get all of the food stored away.

This book is about how the children of that time lived. Since everything revolved around the family in their house, this is about family life from the perspective of children. What they wore what they ate, the work they did during the day, what they did for fun, what their schools were like, and how they behaved on Sunday. There were many laws, some of which were heavily enforced and others that were largely ignored.

The tithing-man would rap you if you misbehaved in church or tickle your face if you fell asleep during the service. Nearly everything that was used by the people was grown and made by them, so the explanations of how they made their goods was quite interesting. The list of standard jobs found in every village, such as the miller, blacksmith, barber, tailor and the cooper describes what professions were most valued at that time.

This is an excellent book about the life of a child in New England. While their lives are described as being difficult, they were not without joy, something that is also mentioned in detail.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book. My children, 6 and 4 years old, could easily put themselves into the very clearly described settings. They got a real feel for what life was like in colonial days. It was fun to read - made for GREAT family time!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "genealogyandhistory" on June 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Of all the history on daily life, no book offers more practical insight into the daily lives of Colonists.
The Bible says, "Out of the mouths of babes..." Perhaps the same is true "For the eyes/ears of babes..."
Truly excellent. In all my searching through so many standard old history books, I could not find answers to the questions this book resolved.
Best of all, our kids love it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Heidi on March 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
This was a good book for History. While some of the information we already knew there was a fair amount of new stuff too. It is in question - answered format. The colonial time period was much longer than I thought, People had to make everything, they went to school but not so much to doctors, and a whole lot more. I would recommend it for 1-3rd grade.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sally Cooper on January 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
A really fun, well orgainized book. My 6 and 9 year olds loved it and so did I (Mom). We have been back to it many times, looking at particular sections. I am now ordering other titles in the series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. Gorden on April 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a good introduction to colonial times. This book is intended for 4th+ grade. It is wordy with a colored 'sketch' in each two-page spread. Good information and easy to use with the question/answer format.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JJares on August 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
This Scholastic soft-covered book may be small, but it has lots of information about the American Colonial period. Particularly interesting, the facts are told from a child's perspective; what they wore, ate and did during an average day.

Since I am working on my family's genealogy, these facts will help flesh-out our ancestor's lives. Genealogy, in and of itself, can be dry and boring. By adding bits of information from this book, the story is more likely to be interesting to readers.

This book explains life in the New England colonies during the years 1650 - 1730. Using the "question-and-answer" format, it is easy to find the info you want.

McGovern did an excellent job of explaining how hard life was in colonial times; but she also makes many points about the joy and fun children experienced regularly. The illustrations by June Otani help one understand some of the stranger aspects of life in early America.

My favorite example was `pudding.' No, it wasn't a desert; pudding was a soft pillow worn around a baby's middle that protected the child from being hurt. According to Otani, a pudding looks like a full inner tube, with a baby in the center. There are straps for the babe's shoulders, to keep it in place.

Because Colonial life was a mixture of things as we have now (some doctors and a few books), and things long-gone (a tithing-man made sure children weren't talking or wriggling during church and woke adults/children nodding off during church), this is a charming book for young and old.

Both the words and illustrations were excellent: 5 stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My children and I frequently visit historical sites, watch documentaries, and listen to the Colonial Williamsburg podcasts. In preparation for our next trip, I decided to read aloud "If You Lived in Colonial Times." First of all, it isn't about Colonial Times in the American colonies, but Colonial Times in New England. However, even given the narrowed subject matter, I was surprised by much of the information and how it conflicted with what we'd learned about the colonies from other, more recent, sources. Much of the information in this book reflects outdated ideas and theories about the colonial period. For instance, there were marketplaces in colonial towns, which included vegetable and meat sales. The book explicitly says there were no markets and people made all their own goods. Religion was an important part of some of the colonies there weren't strict rules governing behavior in church nor did meetings last four hours on Sunday's as the book claims. At no point was slavery mentioned, and native Americans were only mentioned in terms of colonists learning about corn from the Indians and planting "in the Indian way." Half way through the book, it occurred to me to check the copyright page. The text copyright is 1964. Illustrations copyright is 1992. The cover says "New and Updated," but I suspect based on the copyright page that only the pictures were changed. The book itself could be a useful starting point if placed in context and elaborated upon, but since it's aimed at younger children (mine are 5 & 8 and listened intently), I'm concerned this book will be taken as fact. It desperately needs a true updating of content, and ideally the title, not just pictures.
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