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Diary of an Early American Boy
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Diary of an Early American Boy

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  468 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Eric Sloane's illustrated rewrite of a diary written by Noah Blake, a boy who lived in 1805, brings us face-to-face with the highest forms of craftsmanship in the early 1800s. Nail making, bridge building, shingle splitting: it's all here in a remarkable book full of detailed illustrations!
Published 2011 by Avyx (first published March 28th 1958)
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Noran Miss Pumkin
Apr 29, 2008 Noran Miss Pumkin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young of age and spirit
Recommended to Noran by: my husband
THIS BOOK GOT ME MARRIED! I KID YOU NOT!!! When i met my husband, he read only tech manuals, never anything for personal enjoyment/pleasure. I started to introduce him to art, ethnic foods, and real books--fun reads. One day in a bookstore, on a hunt for new finds, he stumbled upon this book--this edition in leather though. He bought it because it was about a boy from another century, and how he kept an illustrated journal about how he and his father built stuff. I mean barns, bridges, and the l ...more
Nov 15, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sloane found the diary of Noah Blake, a boy who wrote it when he was 15 years old in 1805. The actual journal entries are brief, but Sloane discusses what they mean in a very readable format that fleshes out the life of this farm boy, his family, friends & the area in an amazingly thorough way given how short the book is. Even better, Sloane's amazing ink sketches convey thousands of words each starting with a map of the farm over a decade or so. Any place an image might speak better than wo ...more
I've got to restrain myself or I might get poetic. A simple little book, and yet full to the brim with charm, history, wonderful little facts, and beautiful drawings and diagrams. It's "Little House on the Prairie" stuff, only something all to itself. I recommend for anyone who is interested in how things were done in the old days.

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Michael Warot
Apr 29, 2008 Michael Warot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone intersted in science or history
Recommended to Michael by: Noran
This book portrays life in the early United States from the perspective of a boy coming of age. The knowledge and ingenuity of our ancestors is sadly underestimated by all of us. They knew far more about things that most of us learn in our lifetimes.

Intertwined is the story of a romance... a romance so innocent and profound it moved me to tears, and made me realized that I needed to propose to Noran.

While you probably won't be proposing because of this book... you can definitely learn a lot abou
Oct 10, 2012 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschool
Phenomenal. I read this to my 4th grade daughter, maybe 5-8 pages per day, and we both loved it. Sloane is a master both of Americana-style line drawing and of succinct, crystal-clear explanations. The reader not only gains a strong sense of early American rural life but also benefits from a virtual primer of basic mechanical concepts. We were truly sad to see this one end. A must-read for fans of Little House, woodcraft in general, and those quirky Alone in the Wilderness videos popularized by ...more
Sep 24, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was published in 1962 with superb drawings by Sloane. LC cataloged it under the author of the diary, Noah Blake. Then in 2008 Dover Publications reprinted this with "1805" being added to complete the title of the book. The diary entries run from March 25 to December 24th, with one short break in the sequence.

However LC should catalog it under Sloane as the primary author, not as an added entry. The superior detailed (ink?) drawings by Sloane constitute 98% of the book - and all of its charm
Nov 01, 2015 Elliott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was good, and there were lots of interesting things in it also. Some of it is a diary from Noah Blake and what he did when he was 15 in the year 1805, and then also ideas and more details that the author, Eric Sloane, wrote.
There is Noah, (who is the main character,) then there is his dad, whose name is Izaak, and then his mom's name is Rachel. Noah and his family owned a small farm in New England. He and his family and friends helped make a new bridge across the brook, whic
Jeremy German
May 14, 2016 Jeremy German rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of this book is that the author discovered the diary of a boy who was 15 in the early 1800s and wrote a fictionalized account based on that diary. I've seen at least one claim that the diary was also fiction, written by the author and passed off as real.

Either way I'm not sure it matters (other than being a little cooler if the diary were authentic). This was a fun read and I've been after books of this nature for awhile. I've been after accounts of what life was like transforming a
Jun 05, 2014 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We read this as part of homeschooling, and appreciated it as a description of daily life and tools in this era. Enjoyed contrasting this and Farmer Boy by Ingalls Wilder, when reading this during morning lesson and the other as a bedtime read-aloud. It left me wanting to know if this was all of the diary, and what happened to Noah in real life, if there is any record. Did he marry Sarah? What did he grow up to become? But we enjoyed the book, and used the recipe at the beginning to make ink! Rea ...more
Nov 07, 2011 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magical stuff, if you hanker for the simplicity of a "storybook" colonial life. One of those "sends me back" books that can be reread in an hour or so.
Mar 26, 2014 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. A refreshing read. Eric Sloane is amazing. He has taken a diary from a 15 year old farm boy from the year 1805. Sloane supplements the short diary entries with "how to" descriptions and he has made that small farm come to life. Sloane is very knowledgable about early farm life, customs, and has a detailed knowledge of how tools and machinery works. Also, he is an excellent artist. The book is full of illustrations. I was truly transported to another era. Reading the book was relaxing. ...more
Roslyn Ross
Aug 08, 2016 Roslyn Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My 4 1/2 year old and I both enjoyed this book tremendously.

Interesting things I learned:
-ten pieces of glass was the allowable limit in a house before you were taxed
-dead tree limbs harbor insects and disease, for this reason you trim them off in your forest
-the first grain silos were pits in the ground
-wagons were made from many types of wood, like 6 types, each would work against each other in dry or damp weather, and in that way they would stay tightly fitted and not break and the cart would
Debbie Phillips
Aug 23, 2014 Debbie Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle school age kids up to adults
A very good book, very interesting.

Eric Sloane, the author, found a diary and used that to create this wonderful book. His sketches are superb and really add to the diary. He describes some things that would otherwise be unintelligible. Things just aren't done the same way today, and I think that is a shame. Work is not done with the same quality today, the workmanship is inferior in most items and in the building of homes today.

It was a wonderful book, especially great for boys and young men.
Mar 28, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book based on an old diary of a young boy from the early 1800s. The author includes actual excerpts from the boy's diary, along with his own ideas and explanations of the boy's daily life. At the beginning of the book, the boy and his family had just moved to a new homestead, and throughout the course of the book, we learn how they build their house, make furniture, construct a mill, and farm their land. It is accompanited by really nice illustations that help explain how it is all done and ...more
Nov 16, 2013 KC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Did you read "My side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George when you were in elementary school? I did, and I loved it. That book is about a young boy who goes to live in the Catskills on his in own the wild. He builds a shelter in a tree, hunts and fishes, captures and trains a Peregrine Falcon, and generally is a boy-scout-bad-ass. The story contains wonderful details on how he creates his life in the woods, and to a boy who would eventually grow up to be an engineer, this was heaven. The " ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read for kids science curriculum. It was OK. My son LOVED it, my daughter didn't like it, I thought it was OK. It was endearing as the diary is true and the life explained was done quite well. Just the topic I didn't find all that intriguing. Which I hate to say since this is rated so well by others. It was just a lack of interest really. Well written, well done, just didn't keep me intrigued.
Sep 16, 2011 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author found a young man's journal from 1805. It's about daily life and quite a lot to learn. The author gives information regarding some of the more obscure items that perhaps only serious antique collectors would know what they are or perhaps farmers.
We learned about the plumbing of a door based on the lead plumb, which my ds connected to the element of lead being pb.
We learned that it was easier for the settlers to travel during the snowy months than the summer months due to the roads.
Autumn T
Feb 12, 2016 Autumn T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readalouds
A must read, this book has notes from a real colonial boy's diary, and great explanatory notes which tell you all about that object and how we have made it better and newer over the many years. This book is amazing and tells about how they made things, this book covers wood-stacking, rick building, hoop pole gathering, and everything in between.
Mar 08, 2014 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book and illustrations. The diary entries are standard, but what makes this book special is that Eric Sloane explains the entries and gives us a background understanding.

I completely enjoyed reading this book and I know my own 15 year old son will enjoy reading it as well.
Sep 10, 2015 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually found this book fascinating. I loved the illustrations and the author's appreciation of well-crafted early American tools and furniture. My boys enjoyed this book as well--great introduction to engineering and the fact it was mixed with history was an awesome bonus.
Steve Haywood
Jan 08, 2012 Steve Haywood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a real gem of a book. It's only a slim volume - just a shade over 100 pages - but this is history speaking. The book is exactly what it says on the cover - a diary of an early American boy. Sloane stumbled upon an old diary, written by a boy called Noah Blake in 1805. He then wrote the book around the diary, many extracts of which are included as part of the book. It's the story of a teenage boy working on his father's New England farm while falling in love with a girl from a neighbourin ...more
An eighteen year old boy tells in one or two lines per day the events of life in the early 1800's. The author adds commentary and explanations for the entries as well as beautiful black and white inked drawings. I enjoyed this book because it explained so many things and showed the lost wisdom of our ancestors. There is a little romance in the book, but it's very subtle. This book would be interesting for anyone who enjoys working with their hands in wood or metal. It shows some of the interesti ...more
Matt Carpenter
Jul 18, 2016 Matt Carpenter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Mr. Sloane is a great artist and he recreates the events described in this boy's diary from early America. It is educational without being boring.
Kirsten Turner
Sep 11, 2014 Kirsten Turner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sloan is a great illustrator and historian, wonderful delicious stuff, all of his works.
Mar 04, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Based on the found diary of 15-year-old Noah Blake from 1805 New England, Eric Sloane explains and elaborates on Noah's charming entries and the customs, words and activities of the time. With descriptions of probable encounters and his (as always) gorgeous pen-and-ink illustrations, Sloane takes us through the building of a timber bridge and mill, various fences and tools, mazes and games, "cyder" mills, ladders and rocking chairs, among much else. The deep knowledge, craftsmanship and hard wor ...more
Aug 03, 2014 Dorie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came across Eric Sloane's books when I was a teenage wanna-be author researching a book set in early America. Well, reading through Sloane's books I enjoyed the research so much I never actually got around to writing the story. His books are wonderful descriptions of everyday life in this young country, and his penciled illustrations are absolutely wonderful and informative. I collect all his books now, and pick them up when I find them.
Mar 20, 2012 Denise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was at the library looking for gardening books and this book was shelved with them. (I'm not sure why!) The author had found an old diary of a young boy named Noah Blake who was 15 in 1805. Using the diary the author embellished the story and turned it into this book. The book was okay, interesting in the description of building techniques from the era but Sloane ended the story very abruptly. It was an okay read but I would have liked more.
Nov 02, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful exploration of colonial American life with gorgeous illustrations of forgotten practices and a simple, sweet narrative that kept me interested until the final page. This book is targeted somewhere halfway between children and adults and it's perfectly enjoyable for both groups. Eric Sloane is one of the half dozen authors I search for whenever I visit a used bookstore.
May 04, 2013 Thor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice drawings of a farmstead for my art project. This book reveals the mind of a real fifteen year old boy in 1805, a certain Noah Blake. I recommend that if you have a 15 years old boy, you have them read this to see how the context of their lives have changed. The story's a bit corny but...what the heck....corn was the dominant crop.
Lance Greenlee
Jan 18, 2015 Lance Greenlee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! I loved the intriguing drawings.
This is an excellent book for kids and adults. The book is fully illustrated with drawings that detail how things were built and how they worked. They capture kid's attention better than Where's Waldo?, but unlike that meaningless book, there's a lot to be learned from this little gem!
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Eric Sloane (born Everard Jean Hinrichs) was an American landscape painter and author of illustrated works of cultural history and folklore. He is considered a member of the Hudson River School of painting.

Eric Sloane was born in New York City. As a child, he was a neighbor of noted sign painter and type designer Frederick W. Goudy. Sloane studied art and lettering with Goudy. While he attended th
More about Eric Sloane...

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