Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mock Newbery: Raleigh's Page by Alan Armstrong

Title: Raleigh's Page
Author: Alan Armstrong
Publisher: Random House
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-83319-9
Starred review in: Kirkus Sept 1, 2007

In the late 16th century, Twelve-year-old Andrew leaves school in England and must prove himself as a page to Sir Walter Raleigh before embarking for Virginia, where he helps to establish relations with the Indians. ** Notation in BCCLS Catalog reads as "Fifteen-year-old Andrew" - At the start of the book he is 12, but he is probably 15 by the time the book ends.

Raleigh's Page was a well researched and interesting historical fiction set in Elizbeth's London and the founding of the Virginia colony. I loved the section of the book set in London, but found the section set in the New world a bit distasteful. There was a bit of the cliche noble savage in some Indians, but not all. I found myself as disillusioned as the main character by the behavior of the Europeans.
The author fills the book with great details of daily life as well as 'new science' and 'new medicine'. Most of the time the reader will be able to identify the plants, medicine, or scientific tool being used and so it seems to almost be an inside joke between the author and the reader. He doesn't sugar-coat why the crew is willing to explore and he doesn't make a hero out of the captain, however he very nearly makes a villain out of him.

Review by Latricia Batchelor Markle - Tenafly Public Library


Anonymous said...

Sorry Bokwyrm,
This book didn't grab me. I found the facts and the historical background interesting, but did the character grow? It was modeled after "adventure stories" that I read as a kid (before you were a twinkle in your mother's eye). I would reccommend it to a historical fiction fan, but... not on my list for the Mock Newbery. I also found some parts distasteful, when characters behaved poorly: they were acting like the Spaniards! As if English behavior was so superior!
Beth J Closter

BookWyrm said...

Maybe I read it as too much of a history buff...I thought that comments about the English acting like the Spaniards was showing how nieve the main character was and how corrupted the 'ideal' of the exploration had gotten. I found them ironic.
Though I liked the book and I do believe that the main character grew (even if he was the only one), this book won't make my top list either. It's just got too much competition.