From School Library Journal
Grade 5-9. In 1675, King Philip's War erupted in New England, wreaking havoc on colonists and Indians alike. Bartholomew Green, the young narrator of this novel, describes the effect of this war on his family?and particularly on his father's Indian apprentice, James. As the war progresses, James is viciously attacked by cruel Captain Moseley, runs away, and is captured and unjustly imprisoned. After his release, James joins King Philip as an interpreter and scribe. He helps free Bartholomew's cousin Annie from captivity, turns himself in to colonial authorities, and is exiled. At book's end, Bartholomew, now grown and a printer like his father, asks James to join him in producing an Indian psalm book. Naive, innocent Bartholomew is an intriguing contrast to the older James, who is trusting and lighthearted as the story opens, but wary and somber when the war concludes. This is an interesting and unusual tale about a little-known segment of American history. Issues of prejudice and loyalty, violence and peace, faith and honor permeate the book. Unfortunately, it loses its immediacy and drama in the later chapters as too many events are either related secondhand or piled on top of one another with little discussion. Jacobs is also black-and-white in his presentation of the colonists. They're either Indian-lovers and good, like the Greens, or Indian-haters and evil, like Moseley. Although James's difficulties in choosing sides are well examined, the author doesn't delve into the genuine conflicts the English might feel. Despite these weaknesses, James Printer remains a thought-provoking study of colonial America.?Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5^-8. Although an Indian of the Nipmuck tribe, James has been raised as an Englishman in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is a highly skilled printer's apprentice. A boy in the printer's family, Bartholomew Green, tells the story of James' agonizing situation when the English and the Indians go to war. James' heart lies with the people he has known his whole life, but many of the town folk regard the so-called "praying Indians" as "no more than heathens in English dress," and James is forced to take the side of the wily and eccentric Pokanoket sachem King Philip. By choosing Bartholomew as narrator rather than James, the author loses some immediacy, but the story's poignancy and drama come through, along with added perspective and historical detail. Susan Dove Lempke