Friday, November 11, 2011

Problems in Plymouth (Imagination Station #6)

There's trouble in Plymouth, and young cousins Beth and Patrick are right in the middle of it. In Problems in Plymouth, the 6th book in the Imagination Station series by Marianne Hering and Marshal Younger, the children follow the trouble-making Hugh to Plymouth Plantation where none other than William Bradford is governor. But not-so-friendly natives are everywhere and they capture Beth and Patrick. Held hostage in a tepee, the cousins meet a young Pilgrim who got lost in the woods and was also captured. But before long, William Bradford and a group of pilgrim men come to trade items for the children.

But trouble doesn't stop there. Some natives are accidentally shot by the Pilgrims, their friend Squanto is missing, and Beth and Patrick are afraid Hugh might try to incite war between the Pilgrims and natives. Or, they speculate, maybe he wants to bring an advanced weapon - a musket - back to his own time of castles and knights.

In the meantime, Squanto is found and the Pilgrims and natives hold a big feast - later known as the first Thanksgiving. But Patrick is suspicious. Hugh still hasn't shown up. At last, they discover him in the store house, where he threatens the cousins with a musket. He steals Patrick's pouch and discovers a ring there - a ring he thinks will bring the Imagination Station to him. It does, but it also sends him back to his own time. Patrick and Beth follow him, using another ring to call the Imagination Station.

Back in his own time, book 6 now picks up where book 4 left off when Hugh disappeared in the Imagination Station: Hugh is arrested, and Beth and Patrick go back home.

What I Like: I always appreciate novels that make history more inviting, and I love the idea of covering the Pilgrims in more depth.

What I Dislike: Unfortunately, the authors barely scratch the surface of who the Pilgrims were - and often offer a conflicting account. For example, the book talks about the true event of the Pilgrims stealing corn from the natives; it also shows some Pilgrims having a definite war-like attitude. We don't even get to see how God is part of their daily lives, although Bradford does pray before the feast. Yet, at the end of the book, Mr. Whittaker says, "The Pilgrims were honest and trustworthy." But only Bradford is actually depicted as honest, trustworthy, and someone to try to be more like. In addition, this book has a weak plot. Lots of little things happen to the Pilgrims, but there isn't much of a story arch. This is especially disappointing after the really excellent book 5, Showdown with the Shepherd. Problems in Plymouth isn't a bad book, but it's not a great book, either.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 7 and up, but some younger kids will enjoy having this book read to them.

Publishing Info: Tyndale; 2011; ISBN: 978-1589976320; paperback, 128 pgs., $4.99.

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Special Info: Read our other reviews of other books in this series.


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