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The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland's Good Fortune
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The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland's Good Fortune

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  261 ratings  ·  88 reviews
In the first book he has both written and illustrated, master artist P.J. Lynch brings a Mayflower voyager’s story to vivid life.

At a young age, John Howland learned what it meant to take advantage of an opportunity. Leaving the docks of London on the Mayflower as an indentured servant to Pilgrim John Carver, John Howland little knew that he was embarking on the adventure
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Candlewick Press
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As you all surely know, I am the HUGEST FAN of Lynch's work! And this is his first book that he wrote and illustrated! It's gorgeous, and is a wonderful and a wonderful addition to the rather small Thanksgiving canon!
A biography about my ancestor, John Howland, who almost didn't make it to the New World. It seems factually correct from what I've read about him. The illustrations looked a bit gloomy to me since it's set mostly at sea during stormy season. It did make an impression on my young nieces enough so that when I started to tell them about our ancestors who sailed on the Mayflower, it clicked that they owned and read this book. So I guess it gets a thumb's up from an "almost" 8 year old and "almost" 9 ...more
Sunday Cummins
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well written and appropriate for 4th grade through even middle school age readers. Told from the perspective of the adolescent John Howland, an indentured servant who made the Mayflower journey. The lengthy text and the detailed illustrations reveal how complex and difficult this journey was - the planning, the leaving, the getting started, the crossing, the arriving, figuring out where to settle, and then the first year.

When I finished, I was eager to read the author's notes. How was his resea
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I have always been a huge fan of P.J. Lynch's artwork, but this is the first book he has both written and illustrated. He got the idea of telling John Howland's story after reading Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower. The story is told from Howland's point of view, so that you feel as if you are there. The illustrations are gorgeous and detailed. Lynch includes information about Howland's life after the story ends, as well as books and web sites for further reading. So often the story of the Pilgrim ...more
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing

The story of the Mayflower is often portrayed the Pilgrims got on a boat and made it to the New World. This breathtaking picture book portrays the real life experience of the people who came across on the Mayflower. The illustrations in this book are breathtaking. It’s the same illustrator that did The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. I cannot get enough of them. It is written in first person about John Howland was was an indentured servant and sailed on this historic ship. It begins in Eng
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I have to start my review with discussing the art work. Describing P.J. Lynch as a master artist is a perfect statement. His watercolor and gouache full page plus illustrations are so lifelike and beautiful that the reader will spend time on each page viewing the art in addition to reading the text. And what makes the book even better is that the text is interesting. Told in first person from John Howland’s point of view, we travel from London t
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower tells the story of John Howland. The story is told from his viewpoint in first person narrative. He begins by telling us about London and how he liked the city (despite the smell), but is being forced to leave it because of a difference of religion. He and others must therefore escape to America. They are readying the Mayflower in secret, for fear of being caught and killed. When they finally did escape, they arrived at Holland and waited for another boat, the ...more
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled on this one at the library and it is fantastic. It is the story of the Mayflower and their settlement and the first Thanksgiving, told from the perspective of John Holland, a young indentured servant (actual historical character). It is gorgeously illustrated and does not over-glorify the settlers. It speaks honestly of their interactions with the Indians and goes into Squanto’s background (taken as a slave, lived in London, returned to his people decimated by the plague). It’s just r ...more
American Mensa
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is great! If you want to know more about the pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving this is your book. The journey has struggle, adventure, uncertainty, courage, danger, a new world, challenges, tests, success, and the return (or not). And, it is based on history. What more could you want? This book is a fun way to learn about early American history or to prepare for your Thanksgiving. If you like hero adventures you will like this book. So accept the call to adventure, do not turn away.
Vera Godley
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This stunningly beautiful children's picture book brings a fresh voice to the usual Pilgrim, Mayflower, and Thanksgiving story. Based a real-life John Howland who as a young man-servant indentured to Pilgrim John Carver, tells his story in an easy-to-read and easy-to-listen to voice from the past.

During the harrowing journey across the Atlantic, the real John Howland actually fell off the ship, The Mayflower. It was a difficult crossing from the old world to the new world and that was only the b
Detailed and emotional watercolor and gouache illustrations and text that puts readers in the shoes of the main character tell the story of John Howland, an indentured servant who travels to a new land aboard the Mayflower. Although some might find the book text-heavy, the stories John tells are fascinated, filled with interesting details, and delivered from the perspective of a boy who becomes a man on the journey. Not only does the book describe the Pilgrims' preparations for their sea voyage, ...more
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
What caught my eye about this book was the illustrations on the cover. As soon as I began reading, I was drawn in. I really appreciated how this pilgrim story is told in first person. This helps the readers feel like they are the pilgrim themselves living in the 1620's. It is a fun adventure about a pilgrim's journey after falling into the ocean off the Mayflower. It was exciting to take the journey with the main character, John.

This historical fiction book was based on the Mayflower, which was
4.5 stars

Lynch's illustrations are a wonderful fit for the story he tells of John Howland, the Mayflower, and that harsh first winter for the Pilgrims. Much more than a Thanksgiving story, this text-heavy book is a great read about early American history and the Mayflower's voyage. Lynch's text, from the perspective of young Howland himself, doesn't shy away from the Pilgrims' faith, the harshness of their experiences, or the ways in which they may have not dealt well with the Native Americans.
Nov 20, 2015 added it
There have been or will be events in our lives when we think, "I can't believe I did that. How is it that I am still alive?" Or we will be placed in a situation completely beyond our control wondering if this will be our last moment to draw breath. At times such as these we are reminded, if we have forgotten, to be grateful every single day.

In the course of history there are those people, for reasons not immediately understood, who are saved when they should have died. The Boy Who Fell Off the
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Book Challenge #3: Read a book you can read in a day. Check. I don't know if this really counts because it's a children's book, but I LOVE children's books and this is a really good one. And it happens to be about my signif. other's ancestor John Howland. We were surprised to find out in Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower, that John Howland almost never even made it to America, as he fell off the ship and nearly drowned. It's a miracle that someone noticed he fell. I love that P.J. Lynch decided to ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I slowed down to savor this story of John Howland, an indentured servant who sailed to North America on the Mayflower. Told from the young man’s point of view, the harrowing journey across the Atlantic and the terrible hardships endured in the early months of the settlement were given depth and poignancy. Lynch’s perfectly paced story is matched by his stunning illustrations. This book will transport children back in time and enthrall them with a tale of courage and perseverance. (Line up to pur ...more
Mar 25, 2016 added it
Shelves: children-s-lit
This is a very detailed story of a young teenager who is travelling to a new world on the Mayflower. John Howland's story brings to life one of the most important parts of American history. It vividly describes what life was really like during the difficult journey and in the years following.

This book is long, but worth the read. The first person perspective really brings it to life and makes it real for kids.

I would use this for a social studies lesson on the Mayflower or around thanksgiving.
This middle-grade picture books tells the story of John Howland who fell off the Mayflower when it sailed from England in 1620. Luckily for him he was rescued and as an indentured servant helped to establish the New World.

The illustrations are beautiful and the writing gives details of the challenges and hardships facing Howland and his shipmates. My husband's family is one of "many millions of people living in America today" descended from John Howland and his family, and it was fun to read mor
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
John Howland is a boy at the time the Mayflower sails for America. He is the indentured servant to John Carver. This story details the preparations in England, the horrifying trip to America, and the terrible first year the Pilgrims spent trying to survive. It is a great introduction to one of the lesser known historical figures of that time. The illustrations capture the feeling of the journey and the hazards the Pilgrims faced.
Nice picture book version of the true story of John Howland, who came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant and survived to become a contributing member of the Plymouth Colony. Beautiful realistic watercolor and gouache paintings are glowing with light and accurately depict clothing, tools, food, etc of the period. Written in diary style (so historical fiction) to be exciting and accessible to kids.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully detailed illustrations and a gripping first-person narrative bring this nonfiction work to life and bring a fresh look at the story of the journey of the Pilgrims to the New World. Written for a middle-grade audience, the book will be of interest to any who enjoy reading and learning about the Pilgrims. Reading this book is a pleasurable experience.
Faith Hough
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent picture books for older kids who still love gorgeous books (which is pretty much everyone, right?). Although the writing itself may not be award-worthy, it is well-researched and compelling.
But the artwork! The artwork is absolutely stunning and breathtaking. You will find yourself forgetting to read because you just want to look at those pictures.
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
At first the title sounded like something horrible. However, the adventurous children that do take a chance and read this will be rewarded with a fascinating history lesson disguised as a period adventure story that will keep them interested till its conclusion, and might even encourage them to investigate further. Great illustrations by Riddell.
Good for ages 8 and up. An interesting retelling of what the Mayflower journey was actually like, from the point of view of one of the young male indentured servants on board. Fantastic, realistic illustrations.
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LOVED this book! It's simple, but very powerful. It made me value Thanksgiving more than I ever have. I've always found fault with Turkey Day ;-), but this book has changed my opinion. The meaning of that Holiday is very important.
Sue Poduska
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
The beautiful and realistic illustrations in this engaging new book are a big part of the little-known story of one of the original settlers near Plymouth Rock. Kids will learn a truer history of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Follow the epic story of John Howland's journey from indentured servitude to Plymouth citizen. Some teachable moments about early settlers and their dynamic with Native peoples- some hit on the nose, some that missed the mark.
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lush illustrations and depth to the Thanksgiving story makes this a wonderful book. John Howland's story is amazing, full of adventure and hope. It's long for a typical read aloud, but would work with older kids, even middle schoolers. Really nice.
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful illustrations and the well-written story of John Howland, an indentured servant who really did fall off the Mayflower on the voyage to America. Great for older kids (and for middle-aged and old women in book groups)!
Pamela Powell
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful- both in pictures and words. First person account of John Howland, an indentured servant aboard the Mayflower. Definitely recommended!
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Patrick J. Lynch has worked as a Children’'s Book Illustrator since leaving Brighton College of Art in England in 1984.
He has won many awards including the Mother Goose Award, the Christopher Medal three times, and the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal on two occasions , first for "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey" by Susan Wojciechowski, and again for “When "Jessie Came Across the Sea”" b