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Journey Into Mohawk Country by George…

Journey Into Mohawk Country

by George O'Connor

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This brightly illustrated novel tells readers the story of a Dutchman’s, Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaer, journey into Mohawk Country for a trading mission and some of the settlements and people he encountered along the way. Adapted straight from Van den Bogaer’s journey, O’Connor creates a tale that is easy for readers to get into and see not only aspects of the Mohawk culture, but how they interacted with traders. O’Connor does an excellent job of not only adapting the material at hand and presenting it in an interesting format, he also writes a nice introduction so that readers understand the history of what was going on and why the Dutch launched the mission. The thing that stands out to me the most is that this must have been difficult materials to work with as I doubt Van den Bogaert was writing his journal for others to come back and read centuries later.

As others have noted it does at times see if O’Connor has taken some liberties with how the characters interact with each other, at least based upon the story being told in the novel. I say, at least, because it's possible the journal contains more information that he used while creating the art, but at times the depictions can be...different. There are many times during the course of the story where the Mohawk warriors are depicted as having the upper hand on the Dutch traders and the Dutch are depicted as a bit...bumbling. But...overall this doesn’t really hurt and actually helps make the tale more engaging to me. Also it seems that O’Connor does pull from other historical contexts to depict things, such as how the villages looked, the games they might have played, etc. and it helps bring history a bit more to life.

This a good tale for all ages of readers interested in learning about interactions with the European traders and the Native American tribes. ( )
  zzshupinga | Aug 1, 2012 |

"With such a simple, bare-bones narrative to work with, O’Connor must fill in the blanks, connecting journal entries into a continuous story and speculating on what the travelers might have felt and what little inconsequential things could have happened that were not important to be noted in the journal but still add flavor and context nonetheless. There’s an extended “spiritual” sequence toward the end with no text from the journal that is probably all bunk, but it adds an emotional arc that is otherwise lacking from the dry journal entries. Overall, the illustrations might add a bit of fiction to the novel, but they are appropriate and do not take away from the basic character of the original journal." ( )
  lampbane | Jan 20, 2011 |
Some reviewer dismissed this book as not very interesting. However, being familiar with Early Modern travelogues, I can say that often _they_ are not very interesting - unless you learn to read between the lines. In this case, while Van den Bogaert's original journal leaves all too much out of the tale, I can say that O'Connor does an admirable job of filling in the gaps with his art, making both the story and the characters more real. ( )
  klai | Nov 24, 2010 |
In 1634-1635, Bogaert set out from New Amsterdam’s Fort Orange to talk to the local Native American tribes who have starting trading their beaver pelts with the French. With the exception of translating, the text is unchanged from the journal Bogaert kept on his travels.

O’Connor's artwork brings out many things barely touched on in the text. His backgrounds add several elements to the story that are not included in Bogaert’s dry narrative—-traveling companions turn into comic buffoons and stolen glances add romantic intrigue. Sycamore’s color work helps establish Bogaert’s mood—-panels of trudging through the snow or being unable to start a fire are shown using only black, white and pale blue. Crowded longhouse scenes are reflected in the flames of the fire using palettes of oranges and reds. Includes a glossary and historical notes

see all my reviews: www.jenrothschild.com ( )
  kidsilkhaze | Jan 1, 2010 |
Journey into Mohawk Country is based on a journal by H.M. Van den Bogaert with illustrations by George O'Connor.The diary served as a wonderful focal point for this graphic treatment. Written in the graphic novel style, the book follows a dutch trader who leaves Manhattan Island to explore Indian country in the winter of 1634. The young man meets with various Indian groups, trades tools and weapons for fur and food, and learns about the native cultures.

This well-researched book attempts to illustrate the adventure with authentic visuals that reflect the time period and cultures represented, while still making the work accessible to young people. The author takes come liberties in interpreting the journal's references to some issues. For instance, when the author refers to the lack of privacy in some villages, the illustrator shows the frustrations Bogaert probably felt about the lack of toilet facilities.

This book serves as an excellent model for anyone wishing to convert an historical text into an engaging graphic reading experience. Teachers should find it particular useful in stimulating interest in this time period.

As usual, First Second have succeeded in publishing another outstanding graphic work for all ages. ( )
1 vote eduscapes | Sep 8, 2009 |
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An illustrated children's version of the journal of a young Dutch trader, Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, who journeyed into the land of the Iroquois Indians, a Mowhawk tribe that controlled the trade routes in the area, in 1634, seeking to bolster the Dutch trade in what is now New York State.… (more)

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