Monday, 9 September 2013

Children of the Wild by Giles Milton

Review by The Mole

When the Tiger sets sail for America in 1585 it carries a group of settlers who are to make their home in Virginia. Among them are four children - Eliza, Maud, Francis and John. The ship survives the long journey only to be wrecked on the final approach to the beach and much of the precious cargo is ruined in the sea. After the landing, Master Ralph - a man who is universally hated - takes command and they set about trying to survive.

The book is laced with historical fact and demonstrates  many things to the reader - it feels like a history lesson. Such books can be very helpful in getting youngsters interested in history - if done well. To me this didn't feel done well though - it's the kind of book I would have skipped huge chunks of as a young reader.

More than the first half is just their day to day lives as young colonists - Sixteenth century Coronation Street - and then, after more than half the book is gone, we start a real children's adventure. In fact the way every stray native American is picking a few words of English it read like a real work of fiction.

And one thing that did annoy me immensely... Queen Elizabeth was NEVER Queen Elizabeth the first! We don't talk of King John the first or Queen Victoria the first and Queen Elizabeth only became "the first" in 1952/3 when Queen Elizabeth The Second took the throne. If it is felt clarity is needed then why not use footnotes? The children's book I am reading currently is about Romans and footnotes are used, but without going overboard, and so far it is going very well.

If my child had ever picked this book up to read then I would have encouraged them to read it but not be surprised if they had left it unread.

Publisher - Lifestyle Press
Genre - Children's historical fiction

Buy Children of the Wild from Amazon

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