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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Matthew LaCraft, the Yankee Boy: First Children of Farmington Book by Lisa Lickel is an excellent book for young readers, with good messages like loyalty and friendship that run through the story. Matthew wants to go with his father on a last trading journey on his ship, but then his father decides to give up his ship, the Mary Jean, and stay at home. Matthew can't understand how anyone can give up sailing to stay at home and farm. He would have preferred to go to his old school in Boltonville itself, though his father said the new school was one-of-a-kind. But not everyone is happy when Green Leaf, a boy from the Potawatomi village, joins the school. Matthew wants to help Green Leaf - will his plans work?
The story is heartwarming and reiterates the importance of friendship, trust, and loyalty. Set in the 1850s in Farmington, Wisconsin, the author also throws light on the early settlers in that region and how they had to adjust to the native people in the region. The illustrations in the book will help readers connect with the characters in the story and make it more entertaining. It's a good story that can be read in classrooms and school libraries during read aloud sessions.
The story is educational and informative and parents and grandparents can use it for bedtime storytelling. The book tells readers about the importance of education, it also speaks about history, how to stand up against prejudice, and conveys important messages of friendship and loyalty. The book not only has a good concept, but is also educational and informative; definitely a must-read!