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Friday, November 14, 2014

Colonial Comics: New England, 1620 -1750 Book Review

I received this product for the purpose of this review. All opinions states are my own and may differ from yours.
Being in New England, its fairly easy to teach our son history. We go to Plymouth and see a rock, a boat (Mayflower), or to Plimouth Plantation. We go to Boston. We visit Lexington, Concord, Hancock Shaker Village, Old Sturbridge Village. There are lots of different historical places we like to visit and enjoy. Colonial Comics is a comic book or graphic novel for the younger crowd that tries to teach them history through graphical stories. All stories are pre-Revolutionary War and most I've never even heard of.

The book is made of stories, activities, and informational pages like a handbook. Most of the stories are unknown to the typical history student, unless they've studied pre-Revolutionary War times. That isn't a bad thing as the book covers 1620-1750, and most people don't know much about that time beyond a boat or two arriving off the shores of Massachusetts and Virginia, and perhaps a witch trial in Salem. Given the New England nature of the book, you lose one of the boats, too, although that was technically 13 years prior to the Mayflower.

There are stories about the Indians or Native Americans as they are now know. You have stories about influential people of the time and some not so influential. You kind of wonder where the authors dug up the stories, as they are so unknown to the typical reader's parents. And authors is the right term here as each story is written by a different group.

I had my seven year old go through the book. He reads above his grade level and I thought he'd enjoy. I was wrong. The publisher lists the book at ages 12-18 and grades 4+. Apart from the mismatch of years there as age 12 is grade 6, that's probably a more realistic expectation for reader's level/age, at least 10 I'd probably say. Its not that the younger child can't read it but they're historical stories and not as exciting as reading about Pokemon or Geronimo Stilton. 

I went through the stories myself, too. I liked their presentation. You definitely learn about life in the pre-colonial era. At 210 pages, there are plenty to get through. That's another thing that would scare the typical 7 year old off.

Overall, a great job by all the authors and illustrators, too.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Java John Z's is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.


  1. This sounds like a really great book. What a great way to get kids to read about history that in a comic style book. I could do with a review of history myself.