John Smythe, 12 years old in Plymouth Pioneers, and his sister Sarah, 10, have come on the Mayflower to the New World. As Separatists, the Smythes believe in practicing their faith in daily life, and their first year in North America gives them ample opportunity to do that. The family reappears in Dream Seekers, although John and Sarah are now grown and their brother Phillip, 12, is front and center. Pioneers has the inherent drama of the desperate fight to survive in alien surroundings, but is weakened by a tendency to substitute descriptions of physical attributes for character development; mixed in is some degree of telling rather than showing. Dream Seekers has more convincing characterization, although Mr. Smythe is drawn as substantially more stern by Lough than by Reece. Seekers also has uneven plotting, with characters appearing, disappearing, and reappearing randomly. The Roger Williams tie-in of the subtitle is all but dropped about one-fourth of the way through. Dialogue in both books ranges from obviously historical, such as "aye" for "yes," to curiously modern such as, "Wait up!" The strength is in the children's repeated struggles to choose appropriate behavior and to depend on God in difficult circumstances. For libraries with a high demand for Christian fiction, the depiction of faith applied could override the general mediocrity of
My kids loved this whole series. It's a great way to learn history in a style kids can relate to.
John and Sarah Smythe are hungry. Plymouth Colony in December is cold and bleak. One hundred people need food and shelter, but many of them are too sick to work. Samoset and Massasoit show their new neighbors how to get food and plant seeds, but by spring, half the people who made the trip on the Mayflower are dead.
So far the Smythe family has been spared, but too many of their friends are gone. John and Sarah spend hours each day working in the fields and doing chores to help, but they worry. What will happen if their parents get sick?
John and Sarah's adventure continues. They have landed at Plymouth....the New World. It's sad but also comforting to read about the struggles and hardships of the Pilgrims. They paved the way for all Americans!! It makes me proud.