November 17, 2014

20+ Thanksgiving and Autumn Books (& Movies!) Kids Will Love

Thanksgiving and Autumn Books Kids Will Love - picture books like Pete the Cat and Curious George, plus easy readers about Pilgrims and more.

Here are 20 of the fall and Thanksgiving books that we've been enjoying lately. Plus, a couple of Thanksgiving shows and movies that Eleanor has been watching.
  • Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by James Dean. Pete the Cat is just the best! Eleanor loves these books -- this one has some fun lift-the-flaps, and tells the story of Pete acting in a Thanksgiving play at school.  Rating: 5 out of 5  Recommended ages: 3 and up
  • Give Thanks to the Lord by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Amy June Bates. This is a sweet story, where a family thanks God for their blessings over the year, and for the food on their Thanksgiving table. I always like Karma Wilson's books, and this one is no exception. Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended ages: 2 and up
  • Five Silly Turkeys by Salina Yoon. This is a funny little book that lets kids count down the tail feathers on a turkey. Juliet loves touch-and-feel type books, so the "feathers" are perfect. It's a cute story that I think most toddlers would love! Rating: 4 out of 5 Recommended ages: 1 - 4
  • Turkey Trouble by Wendy Silvano, illustrated by Lee Harper. We haven't read this one yet, but it's on my hold list at the library. It gets great reviews: it tells the story of a turkey who tries to disguise himself as various other animals to try to avoid getting eaten for Thanksgiving. Recommended ages: 3 - 7
  • Fancy Nancy and the Fall Foliage by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. Eleanor loves Fancy Nancy these days. She's always throwing big words (like foliage!) into conversation and telling me she learned them from Fancy Nancy. This one is no exception: Nancy's fall shenanigans are as delightful as usual. Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended ages: 4 and up 
  • EyeLike Nature: Leaves from Play Bac. This is one of Juliet's favorite books right now. It's full of adorable kids interacting with leaves - playing in them, eating them, throwing them, etc. Simple text, super cute. Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended ages: 0 - 3 

  • Thanksgiving Mice! by Bethany Roberts, illustrated by Doug Cushman. We all 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
  • The Wild Leaf Ride from The Magic School Bus. The kids are learning about leaves - and then the Magic School Bus turns into a Magic School Bird flying south for the winter, letting them explore a forest. A level two reader, which will make kids giggle at Mrs. Frizzle while they learn some science about leaves. Eleanor easily read all but one or two words. Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 4 and up
  • Brave Bitsy and the Bear by Angela McAllister. This one really captured both Eleanor and I, and I'm not quite sure why. It's a pretty simple tale, about a brave little stuffed bunny who helps a bear find a good hibernating spot as autumn is ending. But something about Bitsy's bravery in the face of her tiny size, and the pretty illustrations had us reaching for it again and again. Rating: 5 out of 5 Recommended age: 2 - 6
  • Thank You Thanksgiving by David Milgrim. Last year her favorite was 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.  Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 1 - 4 
  • Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky. This one is beautiful. It follows a family on an outing to an apple orchard, as they pick circles (apples), gather ovals (squash and corn), and eat triangles (wedges of pie). Rating: 5 out of 5  Recommended age: 2 - 4
  • The Story of Thanksgiving by Nancy Skarmeas. A very simple version of the Pilgrim story. I like that this one is a board book, so that Juliet can't destroy it if I'm reading to both girls. 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... We read this last week, and she asked me if it was true "in the old days". I told her yes, and she responded "Oh, when great-grandma was a little kid?" Ha! Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 2 - 6 
    • Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd. A very simple biography of Johnny Appleseed, with happy pictures and easy-to-read text. Perfect for introducing the history behind many orchards before you visit one yourself! Eleanor thought the part about how he wore a pot on his head was hilarious. Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 3 and up.
    • Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne. We're also waiting for this one from the library. But so far we have yet to be disappointed in a Magic Tree House book, so I'm sure it's good. In this one Jack and Annie head back in time to meet Squanto and some Pilgrims. These are still beyond Eleanor's reading level, but they're nice on audiobook for long car rides! Recommended ages: 6 - 9
    • An Outlaw Thanksgiving by Emily Arnold McCully. An Outlaw Thanksgiving tells 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!  Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 6 - 10
    • We're Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger. Written in the same sing-song style as "We're Going on a Bear Hunt", this one follows a group of children through the woods, across the lake, and more, as they try to find different kinds of leaves (maple, oak, hickory). I like that it teaches the differences in the leaves (since we rarely see any of those trees here in southern Arizona!). Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 2 and up.
    • Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George by H.A. Rey. This one is adorable. It's a tabbed board book - each page has a little poem about George and the Man with the Yellow Hat getting ready for their Thanksgiving feast. Both girls like this one. Rating: 4.5 out of 5  Recommended age: 1 - 5
    • My Thanksgiving Prayer by Crystal Bowman. This is an oversized board book that Juliet likes. It's a nice little story about thanking God for gifts big and small. Juliet likes the animal and kid illustrations. Rating: 4 out of 5  Recommended age: 1 - 3  

      • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. There are two episodes on the disc: the first is the one where Charlie Brown and his friends end up eating popcorn and jellybeans for Thanksgiving dinner. The other is the Peanut characters telling the story of the Mayflower - with really good historical accuracy. The last two years Eleanor has watched both episodes over and over again in November. 
      • Max's Thanksgiving. (ep 26 of Season 1). Max and Ruby isn't my favorite show ever, because Ruby is so bossy, but the Thanksgiving episode is pretty cute. Max and Ruby are trying to help grandma make Thanksgiving dinner.
      • Cookin' with Hook (ep 15 of Season 2). Thanks to Netflix, we've been watching a LOT of Jake and the Neverland Pirates lately. It's a cute show, and in this one Jake and friends are on the hunt for ingredients for a Thanksgiving feast.
      • Free Birds. This is a funny movie, in which turkeys travel back in time to try to get the Pilgrims to choose pizza as their Thanksgiving meal. Thanks to this movie, Eleanor likes to suddenly fall over, and say "I'm tired!" a la the President's hyperactive daughter.
      • The Mouse on the Mayflower. I remember really liking this one as a kid - but it's completely out of print. The VHS is going for $40 on Amazon! I wonder if it's possible to find it anywhere else?
      What Thanksgiving books/shows do you love?

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