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Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving
by Joseph Bruchac , Greg Shed
Search Amazon for other books by or about Joseph Bruchac.

Reviewed by: John L. Hoh, Jr.

Most of us have learned the history of Thanksgiving in school. We know about the Pilgrims and their quest for religious freedom in the New World. We learn about the hardships and the deaths. We learn how the Native Americans (we called them Indians when I was growing up) taught the Pilgrims how to plant crops. And we learned that in the fall (or thereabouts) the Pilgrims and Indians/Native Americans held a feast to celebrate the abundance from the earth.

And while we today celebrate with turkey, they most likely had deer that first Thanksgiving.

Today the public schools may teach about the imperialism of the Pilgrims and how they eradicated the Indians by giving them smallpox. Thanksgiving isn't taught by many teachers as I was taught about Thanksgiving. And rare is it mentioned that the Pilgrims came for religious freedom (ironic given that those suppressing that fact want to benefit from that freedom--whether it's freedom of or freedom from religion, it's the same freedom.

This book looks at the first Thanksgiving from the traditional mindset. But rather than view it from the Pilgrim's point of view (POV), it looks at the historic event from the POV of an Indian named Squanto. Squanto, you will recall from school lessons, was the Indian (Native American) who came to the English and led peace delegations to them and then taught them to farm.

Not that this was easy. Years before he was taken captive by some English and sold into slavery in Spain. He was redeemed by a group called Brothers. The book doesn't explain who the "Brothers" were. A glossary in the back seems to only explain the various tribes in existence at the Plymouth Rock area when the Pilgrims came.

The book uses the first person narrative as if Squanto is telling the reader what happened to him and what he did. Since Squanto is "speaking," we learn some of the words of his native tongue, which are explained for the reader.

The illustrations are colorful and vibrant. They look like the water color variety (the book says they were done in gouache).

From Wikipedia:

Gouache[p], the name of which derives from the Italian guazzo, water paint, splash or bodycolor (the term preferred by art historians) is a type of paint consisting of pigment suspended in water. Gouache differs from watercolor in that the particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher, and an additional, inert, white pigment such as chalk is also present. Like all watermedia, it is diluted with water. (There are examples of gouaches diluted with rainfall, as well as very unusual examples with things other than water, such as Coca-Cola® and Diet Coke®.) (Gum Arabic is also present as a binding agent, just as in watercolor.) This makes gouache heavier and more opaque, with greater reflective qualities.

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