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Raleigh's Page

Review

Raleigh's Page

written by Alan Armstrong, illustrated by Tim Jessell

Eleven-year-old Andrew Saintleger lives with his family on a farm in Devon, England. Since Andrew’s older brother will inherit the farm, other prospects must be arranged for Andrew’s future. So, in the spring of 1584, when Andrew finishes school, his father surprises him with the opportunity of a lifetime. Andrew travels to London to join the staff of Sir Walter Raleigh, a famous entrepreneur, a favorite acquaintance of the Queen’s and a man with a dream to explore America.

Andrew settles into his new life in the loud, bustling city, despite missing home and being bullied by one of the other pages. Since he hails from a farm and is talented in such tasks, he is assigned to spend most of his hours assisting Pena, the gardener, and learning about the experiments Pena conducts on foreign plants in English soil. In addition, Sir Raleigh sets dangerous tasks before him to test his intelligence, his trustworthiness and his bravery. In one such test, Andrew must go undercover as a wine clerk to sneak into a mapmaker’s home and obtain a new and supposedly very accurate map. After proving himself worthy, Andrew earns the grandest adventure ever --- to join the expedition to explore America.

Andrew now also assists with the preparation for the voyage, including visiting the Queen for her support, calculating for supplies needed and recording all transactions. He even befriends the two Native Americans brought back from a previous voyage, seeing to their needs and learning their language. They will return to America with Sir Raleigh’s expedition and aid them in exploring the new lands.

They set sail the following spring. Even with all of their preparations and research, no one could have prepared Andrew and the crew for the most extreme of all tests --- mere survival. When they lose their supplies in a shipwreck, they must rely on the native Indians for food through the long, cold winter. Yet, despite every hardship and challenge, Andrew grows to love this new land and sees so much promise in the fertile soil, the thick forests and the freedom existing for everyone. He knows America is his future.

Alan Armstrong received the Newberry Honor Award for his first novel, WHITTINGTON. He has thoroughly researched RALEIGH’S PAGE, creating an adventure for everyone to enjoy. Filled with fascinating historical facts and richly detailed descriptions, readers will learn a bit of history while experiencing the adventures and dangers of early explorers.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on March 10, 2009

Raleigh's Page
written by Alan Armstrong, illustrated by Tim Jessell

  • Publication Date: March 10, 2009
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling
  • ISBN-10: 037583320X
  • ISBN-13: 9780375833205