Friday, November 05, 2010

Thanksgiving Books

Are you really sure, Amanda?  Here goes:

Books we own:

The First Thanksgiving by Lena Barksdale and Lois Lenski  I just love this one.  There are 4 chapters and we read one each day Sunday-Wednesday.  It is a "third generation"  ... a young girl goes to her grandparents for the first time for Thanksgiving.  Her grandparents were at the first Thanksgiving and tell the story. Simple, gentle.  We checked it out every year, so I found a used copy last year and now we don't have to check it out :)

Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey A nice history of Thanksgiving and Pilgrims.  Has a nice CD with hymn medleys.  A book that can grow with your family.  Doesn't fall into the "worship the way they want to" trap (as opposed to how they felt called to worship).

This is the Feast by Diane Shore This book has beautiful illustrations, bright and colorful.  It also has few words per page which is better for some littler children.

Over the River and Through the Wood by Lydia Maria Child Illustrated by Brinton Turkle  Illustrates the song.  I love this song, always have, for no particular reason.  I think I found this one in my mom's books; a happy find.

The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern This is fine, not special.  The illustrations are good enough.  This isn't one I'd necessarily urge you to go and get, but it is OK overall.  I haven't read it yet this year, so the [meh] review may be because it doesn't stand out in any way.

Thanksgiving: A Harvest Celebration by Julie Stiegemeyer This tells the basic Thanksgiving story, as many of the books do, from the perspective of one of the children.  As you may recall, many Pilgrims died the first winter and many of the books do not hide this and the children in the story often have lost a parent.  In this book the mother recovers, which may be important to sensitive younger children.  This one is also published through Concordia House, so is explicitly Christian.

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas  M-girl says this is her favorite book.  (not just Thanksgiving, but favorite book)  It is interesting, well written, well illustrated.  Tells of Squanto's time in Europe and how he returned to New England in time to help the Puritan settlers.  Very good.

In November by Cynthia Rylant  beautifully illustrated, beautifully written.  A poetic sense of November from the first snow to the Thanksgiving feast.  We're just now exploring Rylant's books in general and loving them.

Red Lear, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert ... if you haven't discovered Lois Ehlert for your preschoolers, go check some out! Few words, big print, interesting illustrations.  Love Lois Ehlert

Books from the library:

The First Thanksgiving by Linda Hayward - this is a basic reader, fine for what it is.
Thanksgiving Day by Robert Merrill Bartlett - older book, starts with historical harvest festivals, the most is the Pilgrims in the middle, ends with modern American Thanksgiving.  Tells a little more of the story, I was pleased.
Sarah Morton's Day by Kate Waters - I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  Re-enactors from Plimoth Plantation are photographed living as the Puritans would have.  I really liked this, showed chores, lessons, friends, memory work, the difficulties and joys.  There's also a boy one: Samuel Eaton's Day that I'm waiting on from the Library.
Thanksgiving Is by Gail Gibbons - I usually like Gail Gibbons' holiday books better than in this one, but it is fine.  I like how it, also, teaches about harvest festivals of the past and our current manner of celebrating.
The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh - A Caldecott Honor book Good writing, maybe for early elementary rather than preschoolers.  Highly rec'd on the WTM forum.
Thanksgiving at Our House by Wendy Watson - A family prepares for modern Thanksgiving.  Some fun rhymes mingled in.
Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness - I'd actually love to own this one someday.  Nice illustrations, extra text boxes, *maps*, timelines, This is one where the mother dies in the story, but it is handled well.
Eating the Plates by Lucille Recht Penner - more a history than a story.  Manners, Recipes, information regarding food and the Pilgrims.  Good stuff.
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott - Read it last night, lovely, funny, entertaining.  Not pilgrims, not modern children take over Thanksgiving dinner and chaos ensues.  As you might imagine, Alcott's writing shines through.

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting - silly.  The animals are ready for Thanksgiving, but have no Turkey for on - or is it at? - the table.

Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast by Kate Waters (another re-enactor book from Plimoth Plantation) - very nice, tries to remove some of the mythology surrounding the first Thanksgiving; were the Wampanoag invited or did they just show up?

Books I haven't reviewed yet but look promising:

The Thanksgiving Book: An Illustrated Treasury of Lore, Tales, Poems, Prayers, and the Best in Holiday Feasting Introduction by Willard Scott


  1. Yes!! Thank you! I know that probably took a lot of time. I appreciate it.

  2. No problem, I was going to make a similar file on my computer, so it was easy enough to post here, too. I'll try to remember to do a Christmas list when that time comes.


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