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Read Aloud Thursday–More Thanksgiving Books

As a follow-up to the Read Aloud Thursday post from two weeks ago, I wanted to share a few more of the Thanksgiving books we’ve been enjoying.  We haven’t even actually gotten to the books I intended to use; these are mainly just incidental library, used bookstore, or PaperbackSwap finds. 

The first couple of books just happen to be set during Thanksgiving, but other than that, they really aren’t so much about Thanksgiving.  However, they’re both fun books, so I think they’re worth sharing. An Outlaw Thanksgiving by Emily Arnold McCully is the story of a little girl named Clara and her mother who are traveling cross country to meet up with Clara’s father to start a new life in California.  The train they’re on is snowbound somewhere in Wyoming, and Clara and her mother end up spending a memorable Thanksgiving with none other than the infamous Butch Cassidy and a host of other notorious outlaws.  As one would expect, Butch Cassidy is kind-hearted and likeable, and Clara counts it a high point in her life that she was able to meet him.  Although the story is not factual, the author’s note indicates that Butch Cassidy and some of his cohorts did indeed sponsor a Thanksgiving giving for their friends in Brown’s Hole, Utah, in 1896.  Caldecott Award-winning artist Emily Arnold McCully both wrote and illustrated this book, so the watercolor and tempera pictures are outstanding.  This book provides a safe little peek into a world of danger and excitement, and my girls thoroughly enjoyed it. A Thanksgiving Turkey by Julian Scheer is another book that is set during Thanksgiving season, but it’s not really about Thanksgiving.  Instead, it’s the story of a young boy who moves with his mother to live with his grandfather to help him on his Virginia farm as he grows older.  The boy reminsces about their work on the farm, but mainly, he remembers a time when Granddad was determined to get a gobbler for their Thanksgiving table.  He fondly remembers the hunting trips they made together, and the story culminates in Granddad being unable to allow the boy to kill a big tom when he realizes that the turkey has been around as long he has.  This story is gentle and warm and full of fond memories.  It reminds me a little of Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory,” although it has actually been so long since I’ve read that story that I’m not sure this is an accurate comparison.  Ronald Himmler‘s illustrations are warm and gentle, perfectly befitting this story.

I intended to read An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott for this month’s Bookclub at 5 Minutes for Books, but I ran out of time.  However, after reading Carrie’s review of the book, I decided to give it a whirl with my girls.  This is a fun story to read aloud because it’s basically a “home alone” type story in which a group of children (the oldest being about sixteen) is left alone to mind the house while their parents attend an ailing grandparent.  The older girls have the bright idea that they should go ahead and cook their traditional Thanksgiving dinner in their mother’s absence, and naturally, chaos ensues. I thought my girls would be put off by the abundance of vernacular and antiquated words (some of which I edited), but they weren’t.  They enjoyed it!  Like Carrie’s, ours is a library copy that is as old as I am (half of seventy) with simple pencil sketches by Holly Johnson which I think are perfect for the story.  However, versions with updated illustrations are available, as is a movie based on the book.  Has anyone seen it? 

The only book we’ve read about Thansgiving proper this year (except for the nonfiction selection I mentioned last week)  is Thanksgiving in the White House by Gary Hines and illustrated by Alexandra Wallner. This is simply the story of how the holiday that we celebrate here in the U.S. on the last Thursday of November each year came to be.  Really, though, it’s as much about Tad Lincoln and his White House hi-jinks as anything.  It is also about the loving relationship he had with his esteemed father.  I ended up discussing the fact of assassination with my girls after reading this book; this is something I surely didn’t anticipate when planning to read this story.  However, despite my girls’ premature introduction to the dirty world of politics and war 😉 , I think this is one we’ll pull out each year.  It’s a keeper.

Lastly, I wanted to mention a few of the photojournalistic (for lack of a better word) books we’ve enjoyed about Pilgrims, too.  I picked up Samuel Eaton’s Day through PaperbackSwap and am still waiting on Sarah Morton’s Day, from the same source, to arrive in my mailbox.  My girls pored over the photographs in this story, and I consider that a “two thumbs up” from them.  You can read more about these books over at The Correspondent’s blog
When I saw Pilgrims of Plymouth by Susan E. Goodman listed at PaperbackSwap, I ordered it, too.  We haven’t read it yet, or even looked at it, but it looks like it will be another winner.  Sometimes a picture really is worth the proverbial 1000 words, and I think when it comes to describing seventh century life to preschoolers, this might be the case.

Whew!  I really didn’t mean to write that much, so thank you if you read all of that!  🙂  Believe it or not, that’s still not all of the Thanksgiving books I currently have in my possession.  However, the rest will have to wait for another year.  Since I this is such a lengthy post, I’m taking the week off next week from Read Aloud Thursday.  😉  No, that’s not really the reason–I just hope everyone is busy being thankful and spending time with their families, not thinking about book blogging next Thursday.  I repeat:  there will be no Read Aloud Thursday on Thanksgiving Day.   Go, and eat lots of turkey, and take a long, long nap afterwards.  🙂

Of course, there’s still this week, and it’s time for you to share what you’ve been reading.  Please do.  Leave a link on the MckLinky list below or simply leave a comment.

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Happy Read Aloud Thursday!


4 Responses

  1. My favorite new discovery this Thanksgiving is Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey (1912). It is a fictionalized account of the pilgrims from their persecution in England to their time in Holland and finally to Plymouth.

    It’s a chapter book (244 pages but with large type, wide margins and some illustrations). I have a sore throat now so we aren’t going to finish it by Thanksgiving and we’re stuck in Holland right now; therefore I can’t vouch for the entire book. So far, it’s a great read and my 5-year old is enjoying it. My 3-year old isn’t, but maybe next year. The text of the book is available online at The Baldwin Project.

    I’m also looking forward to “Milly and the Macy’s Parade,” a picture book that is inspired by the true story of how the Macy’s Parade originated. I’m hoping to read this a few times before we watch the parade!

    Thanks for your great suggestions as well.

  2. Wow, you found a lot of great sounding books! A lot! Hmmmm (mind is whirling).

    I actually DID just watch An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (the movie) as a follow up to the book and my review of that was posted over at 5 Minutes for Books. Here is the link:


    Lastly, I linked up on Mr. Linky but put it in as Reading to Know, whereas it is actually Reading My Library. Not that it makes a big hoot of a difference but whatever. =D


  3. P.S.! LOVE the new blog design/layout. It’s so peaceful and beautiful. Love it.

  4. I’m so glad you *did* write all that! I will save this post for upcoming years so I can remember which books to get for the grandchildren. I’m a little late this year!

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