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Giving Thanks

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Overview

"This Thanksgiving, set the mood with a story of gratitude." — CHILD

Thank you, Mother Earth.
Thank you, Father Sky.
Thank you for this day.

How can a young boy ever show his gratitude for all the beauty he sees? He will learn from his father, who thanks the earth and the sky, the frogs and the crickets, the hawk and the deer, even the trees that wave their arms in the ...

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Overview

"This Thanksgiving, set the mood with a story of gratitude." — CHILD

Thank you, Mother Earth.
Thank you, Father Sky.
Thank you for this day.

How can a young boy ever show his gratitude for all the beauty he sees? He will learn from his father, who thanks the earth and the sky, the frogs and the crickets, the hawk and the deer, even the trees that wave their arms in the breeze. Majestic as the most beautiful autumn day and filled with glimpses of favorite woodland animals, GIVING THANKS is truly a gift to readers from nature-lover Jonathan London and master painter Gregory Manchess.

A boy's father celebrates the interconnectedness of the natural world through his daily words of thanks and assures his son, who finds it a little embarrassing to thank trees and such, that it becomes a habit and makes one feel good.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
One brilliant autumn day, a boy and his father hike through woods and fields. " `Thank you, Mother Earth./ Thank you, Father Sky./ Thank you for this day,' " the boy begins. "This is what my father says,/ every morning,/ standing in the field/ near our house." (The text explains that "Like his Indian friends-/ .../ Dad believes that the things of nature/ are a gift.") London (When the Fireflies Come) and Manchess (To Capture the Wind) pay more attention to emotional truths than literal ones. Although the boy narrates, London does not replicate a child's voice; the brief text has the lyrical cadence of prayer. "[My father] gives thanks/ to the frogs and the crickets/ singing down by the creek-" the boy says as the pair walks by a marsh, "and to all the tiny beings/ with six or eight legs,/ weaving their tiny stories/ close to the earth." Manchess follows suit with luxuriant, full-bleed oils. Fittingly, father and son remain small and mostly peripheral figures in these sumptuously lit landscapes. With generous brushstrokes and burnished colors, the artist takes readers into the thick of natural wonders, whether it's a green and gold blur of cattails waving in the breeze, or the flurry of caf -au-lait feathers as a covey of quails rises from a thicket. "To me, it's a little/ embarrassing/ to say thanks/ to trees and things," the boy confesses. "But Dad says it become a habit;/ it makes you feel good." Without much drama, this story may not move readers to develop that habit, nevertheless, these pictures will likely inspire them to marvel at nature's wonders. Ages 3-7. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A young boy accompanies his dad on a walk and listens as his father gives thanks for the beauty and wonders of nature. His father thanks Mother Earth and Father Sky for the day and tells his son of the beliefs of his Indian friends that nature is a gift for which we must give thanks. His dad believes this to be true and he gives thanks to the frogs, the crickets and to all tiny beings. As they walk through the woods he thanks the trees "that wave their arms and spin their leaves in the breeze." He even gives thanks as they catch a glimpse of a fox. He gives thanks to Grandfather Sun as it sets and thanks to Grandmother Moon as it rises. The little boy at first cannot understand why he dad says thanks to all these things, but his father convinces him that it is a good habit. And so, the boy says "Thank you, stars," as they near home and out the stars come, twinkling one by one in the sky. This is a gentle reminder of the need to appreciate all that is around us. The oil paintings accompanying the text are done on linen, adding an interesting texture to the muted illustrations. 2003, Candlewick Press, Ages 3 to 7.
— Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A simple prayer of appreciation for being alive and at one with nature. As a father and son take a hike through the countryside on a sunny fall day, the young narrator explains, "Dad believes that the things of nature are a gift. And that in return, we must give something back. We must give thanks." The man expresses his gratitude for various animals, insects, and trees, as well as for Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon. Though the youngster claims it feels strange to offer praise in this way, his father explains that it soon becomes a habit "that makes you feel good." As evening moves in and the two head home, the boy ventures a quiet "Thank you, stars." Large, colorful, oil-on-linen illustrations beautifully depict the various objects described in the text. Among the animals skillfully represented are a raccoon, a fox, a hawk, and a deer. Warm shades of green, brown, and gold grace the realistic paintings of an autumn landscape. Similar in tone to Chief Jake Swamp's Giving Thanks (Lee & Low, 1995), this is a gentle reminder to cherish what nature bestows so freely.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A young boy explains how his Dad, like his Indian friends, believes that things of nature are a gift and in return something must be given back-a thank you. Every morning, his Dad says, "Thank you Mother Earth. Thank you Father Sky. Thank you for this day." As they walk together on a beautiful autumnal day, he thanks the frogs and crickets, fox, mushrooms, deer, quail, rabbit, and hawk. The tone is respectful, gentle, and appreciative of the wonders of nature. His father thanking trees and wildlife creatures embarrasses the boy, but his dad tells him it will become a habit for him too, and the story ends with the boy thanking the stars. Manchess's beautiful oil-on-linen paintings create the reverent atmosphere with rich earthly colors. His painterly style and perspective brings focus on each creature amid the panorama and subtlely juxtapose man's place on earth. A simple message with a unique spirituality enriched with handsome art. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763655945
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/9/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 582,280
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan London is the author of numerous celebrated children’s books. His commitment to honoring the wonders of the natural world has been lauded by readers and critics alike. About GIVING THANKS, Jonathan London says, "Like the dad in the story, I give thanks to ‘the things of nature’ every day. Of course, my young friends call me a tree hugger! But they’re right. I am!" Jonathan London lives with his wife and two sons.

Gregory Manchess is a self-taught artist whose paintings have been seen in such magazines as NEWSWEEK, TIME, ATLANTIC MONTHLY, READER'S DIGEST, and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. He has received gold and silver medals and the coveted Hamilton King Award from the New York Society of Illustrators for NANUK: LORD OF THE ICE by Brian J. Heinz. About GIVING THANKS, he says, "This story is a timeless expression of the love for nature and understanding our place in the realm of life . . . an understanding that children develop so quickly." This is his first book with Candlewick Press.

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