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Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving Paperback – September 1, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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  • . . . If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152060448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152060442
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 5, 2000
Format: Library Binding
This book is an excellent way of sharing the first Thanksgiving with children. It is told from the perspective of the Native Americans, a perspective that is often overlooked. The illustrations are beautiful and help to tell the story visually.
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High hopes for this book were ultimately disappointed by the poor level of writing and editing. However promising, this concept is delivered without grace, humor, or skill. I once hear a writer say successful writing "shows," not tells...well, this book "tells."

My K-3rd grade audience was confused by this book, and no wonder: an odd first-person introduction by "future Squanto" (1621) drops the reader into a narrative about past Squanto (confusingly written in the present tense by past Squanto), transitions again into "present tense" (1621) Squanto to talk almost-not-at-all about the pilgrims' Thanksgiving, and then ends with a "I'll always be here" message (is this pre-thanksgiving Squanto again? An older Squanto?). I'm sure the author probably thought having Squanto tell the story might make it more compelling, but he neglected to help Squanto sound like an actual person. Instead, he recites his experiences in a dry, mechanical way as it he weren't actually the one in the experiences. Different terms are randomly swapped out to refer to the same Indian tribes and areas of the world...I had to keep putting the book down and explaining to my kids, "that must be a translation for the name of that Indian tribe." It feels like a non-native person did a lot of research and tried to "sound native" by sometimes using English-language translations of Indian words and other times using the words themselves...it just doesn't work and feels like someone is trying to work in as much research as possible rather than write a successful children's book.

This is the real problem: the story isn't presented compellingly and it ignores its young audience's needs.
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Format: Paperback
This is a nice book about Squanto, beginning with when he was forcibly taken to Spain and sold into slavery, through learning English and travelling back to North America to eventually help the Pilgrims as they established their new colony. Most of what I learned about Squanto was new to me.

Each 2-page spread has a full page illustration. The illustrations are attractive in gold, autumn tones.

There is a brief glossary on the back of the very last page, mixed in with copyright information, it's easy to mess. However, there is no pronunciation key which would have been very helpful for the names of the Indian tribes and individuals.

Also be aware, this book doesn't really teach you much about the Pilgrims or about the first Thanksgiving, so you need another book for those topics, but this is a nice addition to a collection of "Thanksgiving" books for children in the elementary school years.
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Format: Paperback
I didn't know about the story about Squanto and his life before and during when the settlers arrived on the shore, but now I do. thank you for breaking the mythical 'thanksgiving image' that we have thought for so many years. our society needs to know the truth, and not sugar coat it.
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This is a great book. I bought it for my first grade class though and felt there were elements that might have been a little too grown up for them. However it didn't go too far and the educational aspect of it was great. If you're reading it to 2nd graders and up it's excellent. Just use your own filters and judgement for the younger ones.
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I bought this book to go along with a Pilgrim Barbie. It's a great kids book. Words are printed over illustrations on every page. The story is told from Squanto's life, not the Pilgrims. And this is a really nice change. It tells of his abduction by a white acquaintance that he trusted. How he was taken to Europe and made a slave. Then rescued by monk who enabled his return to America. So many tragedies befell this man who was instrumental in saving the English Colony. It made my children accutely aware of the generosity of the Native Americans to the white settlers and how badly they suffered as a result. If you want to present history as it was this is the perfect book to read at Thanksgiving.
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After reading over the book and putting myself in the shoes of an elementary school child, the information in this book seems to be somewhat confusing and overwhelming for students. Only the most advanced child would be able to make some sense out of the language and academics of this book.
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Read to 3rd grade students as an alternative to Pilgrim-centric versions of the first Thanksgiving. May have opened the eyes of some about the difficulties of the Pilgrim/Native American interaction. Was Squanto's support of the immigrants wise? Was it justified?
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