November 8, 2013

5 Great Thanksgiving Books for Kids (and a Few for Adults!)

I can't believe this is my third Thanksgiving to share book recommendations! In 2011 I gave you the adult, slightly more cynical version of things: with reviews of Caleb's Crossing, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, and Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth.

This year I've got what I had last year (the picture book version) - which actually could work out nicely in conjunction with some of those others. Your toddler and tween could each join you in reading a great book about early Thanksgivings!

Most of the book reviews are the same as last year, but I did tweak it a bit, since Eleanor is a little older now, and appreciates things differently.

  • Thanksgiving Mice! by Bethany Roberts, illustrated by Doug Cushman. We both love Thanksgiving Mice! It's told in rhyme, and it stars a group of mice who put on a Thanksgiving play for their woodland friends. It gives the basic Pilgrim story, with little mice dressed up as Pilgrims and Native Americans, and then ends with applause and a modern feast, with all the little creatures eating together. It's super adorable, and I love seeing the familiar story framed by the woodland animals. Rating: 4.5 out of 5  Recommended ages: 2 - 5
  • Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell. Eleanor loved Feast for 10 at age two. While it's not specifically a Thanksgiving book, it's a very cute story about a family shopping and cooking together for a big family feast. It starts out with "1 cart into the grocery store, 2 pumpkins for pie, 3 chickens to fry..." then it starts over back at home with another 1 - 10, ("2 will look, 3 will cook, 4 will taste and ask for more...") I like that it counts over twice, making it just long enough to hold her attention, but still a nice, fast read. And the illustrations are bright and happy: the kids look all excited to be helping their mom shop and helping their parents cook.  Rating:4.5 out of 5  Recommended age: 1 - 3
  • Thank You Thanksgiving by David Milgrim. This year her favorite is Thank You, Thanksgiving. A little girl's mom sends her out on a Thanksgiving morning mission. She walks to the store, thanking everyone and everything she passes, till she gets home with the whipped cream, takes a bow "Thank you, thank you!" and eats dessert with her family (Thank you pie with whipped cream! Thank you, Thanksgiving!" Since the words "thank you" are on every page, it really emphasizes the thankful part of Thanksgiving, and the rounded, colorful illustrations are eye-catching. My only question is: what parent sends an apparently 5 year old child off to the store alone with only rabbits and squirrels for company??  Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 1 - 4 

  • The Very First Thanksgiving by Rhonda Gowler Greene, illustrated by Susan Gaber. The Very First Thanksgiving has absolutely gorgeous illustrations, and tells the story backwards. It starts, "This is the first Thanksgiving Day," and then goes back to: "This is the land where it all began/ the land where a brave group made ready their plan/ to travel the ocean that never would end,/ that sometimes was foe and sometimes was friend... The story is the basic Pilgrim story - but the poem's rhythm is nice, and the pretty pictures totally engrossed Eleanor, even if the text is perhaps a bit over her head.  Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 2 - 6 
  • An Outlaw Thanksgiving by Emily Arnold McCully. An Outlaw Thanksgivingtells the story of a young girl and her mother who end up at Butch Cassidy's Thanksgiving meal by accident (Butch Cassidy really did throw a Thanksgiving meal for all his outlaw friends in 1870). Some of the people who reviewed this book on Amazon were shocked that the girl didn't turn Butch Cassidy in when she had a chance... but I thought the story was fun, and the pictures are amazing -- it's clear why this book won the Caldecott! It's a little over Eleanor's head still, but I'm looking forward to reading it again in future years. Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 4 and up 
What's YOUR favorite Thanksgiving book? Mine is Constance, hands-down.

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