John Smith Escapes Again!
Ages 8 to 12
Long before he tried to help an incompatible group of Englishmen to establish a settlement in Virginia, John Smith was having all kinds of adventures in other parts of the world. He trained to be a soldier and went off to war several times, and it soon became clear as he battled pirates, was enslaved by cruel officials, and rode enormous distances on horseback to avoid pursuit, that John had an uncanny ability for escaping dangerous situations. Not only that but many of his escapes were very dangerous in themselves and would have killed a less determined man.
This tendency did not change when he got to America. Time and again John Smith’s life was in dreadful danger, and time and again he was able to escape by using his wits. On occasion he had help, as he did on that famous instance when a young Indian girl called Pocahontas shielded John’s body with her own to prevent her father from killing John. On other occasions John planned ahead and was thus ready for trouble when he came upon it.
John came to love American but he was not able settle in the lands that came to mean so much to him, for though his luck stood by him many times in the past, it did not allow him to return to the colonies after 1614. Instead he had to content himself with writing about America and with dreaming about the land where any man, no matter what his station in life, could make a home and a life for himself if he was willing to work for it.
With its delightfully humorous and carefully researched text and splendid illustrations with annotations and maps, this picture book brings history to life in an altogether charming way. It is perfect example of how history can be presented to make the subject both interesting and entertaining.
In her note at the back of the book the author explains why it is that we have not heard more about John Smith’s “heroic deeds,” where she got her information from, and more about this colorful personality who certainly deserves our admiration and respect.
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