From School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Sam Collier, 12, thinks he "is the luckiest boy in all of England!" He is about to sail onboard the Susan Constant for the New World and will be Captain John Smith's page and apprentice for the next few years. The new colony in Virginia is a struggle to maintain-the colonists are unprepared for the hard physical labor, the unfriendly natives, the lack of food, and the harsh climate. Disease rapidly diminishes the population. Smith is a strong leader, but many of the colonists do not trust him. He is not a "highborn Englishman," and he was never cleared of an earlier charge of mutiny. When he is named to the ruling council, there is outrage, and the tone is set for the remainder of the book. The story takes place between 1606, when the ship sets sail, and 1609, when Smith returns to England. It is told primarily in the third person with occasional intrusions of Sam's thoughts as he questions a situation in which he has been placed or a decision Smith has made. This technique adds depth to the portrayal of the page's character, enhancing the fact-filled text. The story flows well and is a good fictional introduction to Jamestown. Casale's full-page pencil drawings nicely supplement the text. Maps aid in locating travel routes and Virginia sites mentioned, and an "Author's Note" helps to separate fact from fiction.
Patti Gonzales, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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"...The book should be recommended to readers who have enjoyed the DEAR AMERICA and MY AMERICA series." -- Voice of Youth Advocates, August 2001
"Readers of historical fiction will enjoy reading about [Sam Collier's] courage in an unsettling time." -- Kliatt, July 2001