Captain John Smith’s Big and Beautiful Bay
Written by Rebecca C. Jones
Illustrated by Linda Shute
Beautiful illustrations, interesting callouts, excellent paper and getup make this a book an upper elementary and middle school reader would like to read again and again.
Captain John Smith was not like the other people who came over from the old land. They were in search of gold, so they could return to England rich men. Captain Smith was not interested in wealth gathering; he wanted to learn about the people, the crops and the animals of the New World. He explored the lands and woods around the river. The sparkling waters of the Chesapeake Bay beckoned, and finally he set off with a crew of fourteen, in a well provisioned shallop, to explore the bay.
Many adventures befell the crew. They weathered storms and extreme hunger; some people welcomed them, others tried to scare them away. But the lands were richly wooded; the skies teemed with birds, and the oceans were so filled with fish that John Smith said one could walk across the bay on their backs.
Captain Smith and his crew kept extensive journals. This story is based on those journals and is historically accurate. The back matter encourages young readers to go directly to the source material — telling them that the Captain was a lousy speller!
He was, however, an excellent map maker. So accurate are his maps that they were used for navigation for the next 300 years. As accurate as the maps are the illustrations in the book, especially the callouts that portray marine life. They provide information, made all the more memorable by the occasional flash of humor, and can provide hours of reading activities. This is a beautifully produced book.
John Smith returned to England, but never forget the rich and beautiful Chesapeake Bay.
Chesapeake Bay: http://www.smithtrail.net/the-chesapeake/
Interactive Game: Captain John Smith: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/games/interactiveadventures/john-smith/