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THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS by Jane Yolen

THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS

An Unsolved Mystery from History

By Jane Yolen (Author) , (Author) , Roger Roth (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-84620-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

In the fourth offering in the Unsolved Mystery from History series, the curious little girl invites readers to 1692 and Salem, Massachusetts, to examine the hysteria of the witch-hunts. An extremely simple narrative about the Parris family, their slave, Tituba, and the fear and frenzy that surrounded them is augmented by the young sleuth’s rather grown-up spiral-notebook asides. Definitions specific to this particular inquiry are offered on multicolored Post-it notes that seem to be laid atop Roth’s grim watercolor-and-pencil illustrations. Finally, the authors offer five hypothetical causes for the terror of the Salem Witch Trials (ranging from ridiculous to reasonable), but none is identified as “correct.” Rather, they suggest that the reader may have developed a theory of his or her own. Web sites mentioned are viable but aimed at older readers, and the bibliography is meant for adults. While this may have lots of appeal for the nascent investigator, it may be less than satisfying for young historians, who will wonder how Yolen and Stemple know what they say they know. (Picture book. 7-10)