"Problems in Plymouth" Marianne Hering and Marshal Younger
Cousins Beth and Patrick visit Whit's End. They went in the imagination station to Plymouth. Hugh traveled there in the last book. When they got to Plymouth they met the boy pilgrim John. He helped them sneak past the his father's army. John's father was fighting against Native Americans. John's father and the enemy chief made a trade with Beth's mirror and the chief's beads. Hugh was hiding in a cave so Beth and Patrick couldn't get the ring they needed to have Mr. Whitaker use to travel in the imagination station to get Albert back. Two soldiers helped Patrick and Beth find Hugh. The cousins took the ring and the imagination station appeared. They went home and gave the ring to Mr. Whitaker.
Beth and Patrick find themselves in 1621 Plymouth, pursuing a thief from 1450 introduced earlier in the series. In the process, they watch as the Pilgrim/Wampanoag Treaty is threatened and a war is almost begun over false rumors. They also manage to make it to the First Thanksgiving.
As the final book in this story arc, the plot focuses on tying up the loose ends from the first five books, and in the process fails to invest in the characters and setting of Plymouth. The way the plot is developed, the First Thanksgiving seems more of a celebration that a Pilgrim-Indian war didn't start than thanksgiving to God.
I would not recommend this book as a standalone read for children; events happen so quickly in the story that outside resources should be used to make sure that young readers understand who everyone is and how events factually occurred without added fictional characters interfering. I would completely avoid using this book as an introduction to Plymouth and the Pilgrims for that reason.
Other than that, it's a good read for the first grade and up crowd.
With this series you get to travel through time on an adventure to the unknown to find objects or people all while having fun learning history and Biblical truths. I love the balance of the fun and the educational aspects of these books, it's a great combination. In book #5 we travel back to Biblical times and meet non-other than young David as he's heading to take food to his brothers in battle against Philistines and Goliath. This is one of my children's favorite Bible passages and I know they are going to enjoy this twist to the story. It's so enjoyable to imagine what it would be like to step back in time to experience firsthand these historical events and these books do a great job in imagining just what it might have been like. And then there's the very timely arrival of book #6 which takes readers back through time to the first Thanksgiving celebration at Plymouth. I think I might just skip out of order and read this with my two as part of our Thanksgiving reading this month. These books of course are written as part of a series but a great feature is the prologue which can be found at the beginning of all books that sets the background storyline of the previous books in case you decide to read them out of order, making it so you can easily transition into the adventure for any of the books. It is simply an exceptional series for young readers and I am once again anxious to see where the adventure will take us too next. Tyndale House Publishers has provided me complimentary copies of these books.
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.
Kristina Seleshanko, Christian Children's Book Review
We just had the opportunity to read one of the newest books in the Imagination Station Series, #6 Problems in Plymouth. I read this book aloud to my crew (9,7,6,4,2,8 months) although my 9 year old could have read them on his own. I love that this series of books is Christian based, historical, and adventure all in one. The main characters are cousins, a boy, and a girl, making the stories appeal to both boys and girls. The illustrations are also very well done. What I love the most though, is that my children love them! When reading aloud, they beg for, "Just one more chapter please!" Fun for me to read, children love them, and I don't have to worry about explaining any evolutionary content, The Imagination Station Series is a hit in my house!