The last rescued book I shared, Lost Colony, was about the mystery surrounding the vanishing of the colony of Roanoke. Well as I scoured the bookshelves for another title to read I found I had another rescued book on the very same subject. This book was a nominee for the Mark Twain Award (winners are selected by Missouri schoolchildren in 4th through 6th grade).
Roanoke; a Novel of the Lost Colony
Levitin, Sonia, and John Gretzer (illus.) New York: Atheneum, 1973. 213 pp.
The author has again chosen to make our story circle around one of the children/teens from the Roanoke Colony list. While Lost Colony’s hero was a noble escaping a boring life at court, young William Wythers is a runaway apprentice whose master also believes stole some silver. A strong and talented woodworker, William was quickly granted passage to the New World by Governor White.
We meet many of the same named characters as well: Manteo, the friendly Native American, Ananias & Eleanor Dare, and George Howe. This book seems to include many more of the other colonists including the Widow Jane Pierce. Her matrimonial state may be presumption on the author’s part, but there are no other passengers with the same surname, and I can’t help but think what spunk for a single female to undertake such a journey.
Roanoke seems to include a lot more more about every day life—how long church services were, how the new arrivals needed to rebuild the shambled buildings from a previous colonizing attempt, the colonists debating whether a headstone would honor the dead or just lead the savages to a body to mutilate. Of course, the story of Roanoke wouldn’t be complete without the birth of the first European in the new world, little Virginia Dare. There is another first included in the narrative—Manteo was the first Native American to accept the Christian faith and be baptized.
As for the mysterious disappearance of the colony, the author seems to have taken a little from several different theories. Some colonists dies in the wilderness looking for treasure, others were killed by unfriendly natives, some died from an outbreak of measles and some starved to death. The remaining few traveled to Croatoan.
I think I preferred this Roanoke story to last week’s version although my son was disgusted that this was “a kissing book” to borrow a phrase from The Princess Bride. I rescued my copy at the YMCA’s book sale fundraiser.
You can see all my rescued books by clicking here.