A fictional account of Columbus's first voyage, based in part on the explorer's diaries. Julio de la Vega Medina (12) has left the friars who raised him to become a ""gromet"" (a ship's boy) on the Santa Maria. At the friars' urging, Julio keeps a diary, faithfully recording daily events during the first trek across the Atlantic and the explorations of the Indies. An obvious attempt to personalize the historic voyage for young readers, the book is little more than a sugarcoating of history. Interesting details abound, but the personal-diary format doesn't ring true: there is a decided lack of reflection and emotion for so private a document, and the narrator seems too conscious of possible readers. Maps; serviceable fullpage drawings; historical note; attractive format.