Title: The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower
Author: P. J. Lynch
Major Themes: Massachusetts, Mayflower, Pilgrims
Synopsis: John Howland traveled to the New World with the Pilgrims, nearly losing his life on the way.
Once in awhile, I am pleasantly surprised by what I find in our small local library. Who would have thought that a New Zealand library would have a book about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower? We really enjoyed The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune.
John Howland was a servant of John Carver, one of the leaders of the group of Separatists from England who went to Holland to flee persecution. When this story began, he was with his master in London again, trying to arrange transportation for the group to sail to the New World. The challenges of the voyage are described, and the hardships of the first year in the New World. Life was so hard that John wanted to return to England—but ended up being thankful that he didn’t.
Another main character in this story was Lizzy Tilley. She helped care for the children and encourage the other passengers, and her friendship kept John from giving up when he became discouraged. There is just a hint of romance between them; apparently, the two got married several years later. In this book, she helps make a much better story than if it was just about John.
This picture book is aimed at slightly older children than most picture books. Each two-page spread includes a beautiful painting and several paragraphs of text, which together tell the story pretty thoroughly. We liked this book well enough that I would like to have it on my shelf.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12