I have a few Thanksgiving stories to share today. 🙂
Some of you may already be familiar with the Peterkins, but the name only rang a faint bell in my memory, so I was delighted to make their acquaintance in The Peterkins’ Thanksgiving. I think what caught my eye first was the illustrations by one of my favorite illustrators, Wendy Anderson Halperin. (I’ve written about other books she has illustrated here, here, here , and here, so yes, I guess I am a fan!) It turns out that Elizabeth Spurr adapted the 1886 stories of Lucretia P. Hale for this picture book format, and it works beautifully and hilariously. (You can read Lucretia P. Hale’s original stories here.) The Peterkins are a family of eight, with member having a varying degree of dim-wittedness (the adults, mostly) or common sense (the children, mostly). The format of this book is a letter, written to a “Lady from Philadelphia,” about the Peterkin’s Thanksgiving she missed after being called away home suddenly. Of course, all kinds of chaos ensues: their feast is stuck in the dumbwaiter, and the Peterkins go to all manner of difficulties to remedy the situation. In the end, it takes the simple act (by a carpenter they’ve gone to great lengths to procure, no less) of readjusting the weights to get the dumbwaiter to work properly and deliver their meal. It’s a silly story about a silly family, and the silliness is a little bit sophisticated because of its unfamiliarity: I had to explain to my girls about dumbwaiters, and it’s set in a society familiar to us only in books. It’s fun; I wouldn’t mind finding The Peterkins’ Christmas, which Halperin also illustrated. (Atheneum, 2005)
One Is a Feast for a Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale by Judy Cox is a fun story that will appeal to younger listeners. It’s the story of a little bespectacled mouse who takes advantage of the sleeping humans with whom he shares a home by raiding their Thanksgiving table. He has his eye on a “teensy-tiny, toothsome, green pea” that is resting “all by itself under a plate,” and all is well until his eyes grow larger than his stomach and he repeatedly adds just one more thing to his growing tower of food. It’s a very comical story that ends happily (if not gluttonously) for the mouse. Jeffrey Ebbeler‘s illustrations are funny and colorful. (Holiday House, 2008)
Feast for Ten isn’t technically a Thanksgiving book, but I’m including it because it reminds me of Thanksgiving. It’s a counting book, so the plot is minimal, but what it does, it does well. The story is of a family working together to make a “feast for ten” from start to finish: from grocery store to dinner table. Cathryn Falwell‘s illustrations make it all the better. We have this one in board book format; we got it from the pediatrician at one of the DLM’s well visits, and it’s my favorite we’ve added to our collection this way so far. You could take this one in so many directions, from math to nutrition. Highly Recommended. (Clarion, 1993)
Well, I could go on and on; our stack of Thanksgiving books is pretty tall by now. Here are the past Thanksgiving posts I’ve written, in case you need more:
- The First Thanksgiving by Lena Barksdale
- Thanksgiving Wish, Molly’s Pilgrim, etc.
- Outlaw Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving in the White House, etc.
- Squanto, Kate Waters’ books, plus lots more
Choosing our favorite picture books that show the “real” pilgrims wouldn’t be hard, despite the fact that we have half a dozen titles. We love Kate Waters’ books with all the Plimoth reenactors telling the stories. My girls are simply mesmerized by them, as am I. On the Mayflower follows a young ship’s apprentice and young orphan (?) girl across the Atlantic on the Mayflower. The girls really picked up on the human interest part of the story–that Oceanus Hopkins was born on board the Mayflower. In fact, they were thrilled to hear the name Hopkins again in other stories and the Plimoth Plantation virtual field trip.
Have you discovered a new Thanksgiving favorite? Please share! (I need more books, you know. 😉 )
ETA: In honor of Thanksgiving next week, there will be no Read Aloud Thursday. RAT will resume on Thursday, December 1. 🙂