The Perfect Thanksgiving

Overview

Enter two families who couldn?t be more opposite. Family one seems just perfect?with a plump golden turkey, gorgeous whipped cream swirls atop their pie, and lace napkins on the table. Family two, on the other hand, seems far from it! The turkey burns, the Jell-O wiggles and jiggles right to the floor, and Dad?s shirt serves as napkin. What could these two very different families possibly have in common? Full of whimsy, good spirit, and certainly familial love, this laugh-aloud picture book is sure to add spice ...

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Overview

Enter two families who couldn’t be more opposite. Family one seems just perfect—with a plump golden turkey, gorgeous whipped cream swirls atop their pie, and lace napkins on the table. Family two, on the other hand, seems far from it! The turkey burns, the Jell-O wiggles and jiggles right to the floor, and Dad’s shirt serves as napkin. What could these two very different families possibly have in common? Full of whimsy, good spirit, and certainly familial love, this laugh-aloud picture book is sure to add spice to any Thanksgiving feast.

Two families--one that is perfect and one that is far from it--celebrate Thanksgiving in their own loving ways.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The jovial celebration of a national feast day highlights the common thread of loving kinship present in both households.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Colorfully clothed characters, vibrant backgrounds, and almost touchable textures make each page fresh and appealing.”—School Library Journal

“Humorous illustrations . . . It’s nice to see a book willing to tackle the cultural whammy of the ‘perfect’ holiday.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“This could be a great read-aloud book, with its humor and its bumptious illustrations, which use to great effect many of the techniques children learn in art class.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Chock full of colorful details. Author Eileen Spinelli paints a comical picture of a little girl’s chaotic family.”—Associated Press

“This Thanksgiving, for a rhyming good time of a read, pick up this “perfect” fit that’s now out in paperback!”—Oregon Family

The Washington Post
This good-humored book chronicles the holiday celebrations of two very different families: Abigail Archer's, "perfect in every way," and "ours," with store-bought pie, Jell-O mold and uncouth, jabbering relatives. A "hand turkey," drawn by the young narrator on the title page, lurches through the book on its stick feet, offering sly asides that guide the reader to a soothing conclusion: Fancy or funky, it doesn't matter; "perfect" is a function of love. — Elizabeth Ward
The New York Times
Children will enjoy anticipating the imperfections of the second family, whose mother wears jeans and buys pies from the store, whose dogs sneak off with scraps and whose cousins chase each other around the house. This could be a great read-aloud book, with its humor and its bumptious illustrations, which use to great effect many of the techniques children learn in art class: stenciling, sponge painting, collage. — Sandra Dutton
Publishers Weekly
Hailing from a frenetic family akin to the stars of Spinelli's Thanksgiving at the Tappletons' (noted below), a girl narrator despairs of her relatives' ineptitude as she contrasts her holiday table with that of Abigail Archer: "Their turkey is plump and golden./ Their napkins are made of lace." In puckish mixed-media compositions, Adinolfi (Halloween Hoots and Howls) portrays Abigail's family members dressed to the nines, heads bowed in prayer. With a turn of the page, chaos reigns in the narrator's household: "Our smoke alarm is wailing/ Our turkey, burnt as toast./ Dad spills the gravy down his shirt-/ a less-than-perfect host." Adinolfi shows guests gaping at the smoking turkey in horror as the narrator covers her eyes in shame. But the fun factor is considerably higher at the narrator's: overnight guests camp out in the kitchen, sneak leftovers and take 2:00 a.m. bubble baths, while Abigail's guests sleep uneventfully in private rooms. Readers will likely wonder why Abigail is enviable; the premise begins humorously but ultimately fizzles. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Celebrating the diversity of family celebrations, this book features two very different families. The young narrator first describes Abigail Archer's traditional Thanksgiving. The turkey at Abigail's is beautiful and golden. They have lace napkins and lit candles on their exquisitely decorated table. In contrast, the narrator's family has a turkey, burnt as toast, which sets off the fire alarm. Alternate pages continue to contrast the two families. Abigail's family eats daintily and quietly. The narrator's family chews, chomps, slurps, and sings. After-dinner activities and experiences with overnight guests continue the contrasting traditions. Large, cartoon-like pictures in bold colors illustrate the events and add humor to the text. A turkey traced around a hand accompanies the speaker's family while a large colorful turkey attends Abigail's activities. The concluding page honors both families as being loving and perfect. A delightful addition to the Thanksgiving books collection. 2003, Henry Holt, Ages 4 to 8.
— Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-In this tale of two Thanksgivings, a young girl compares her own family's chaotic and less-than-genteel holiday celebration with that of another family, which "is perfect in every way." At that house, "Abigail Archer's father/serves white meat all around./Everyone takes dainty bites,/and no one makes a sound," while at her own home, "My grandpa chews the gizzards./My brother chomps the wings./My sister slurps. My uncle burps./And Aunt Clarissa sings." The jaunty, rhyming text continues to reveal the many contrasts between the two clans, until the final page, when the narrator points out one important similarity, highlighting "-just how loving/our different families are." Combining gouache, colored pencil, and collage, the mixed-media artwork extends the humor of the story. The child-friendly tone is set on the title page, which shows a close-up of the girl's arms, one hand tracing the other with a crayon. The resulting hand turkey, finished off with feathers and features, runs through the pages, taking part in the action and making sly comments. Whether reflecting the serenity at one household or the chaos at the other, the vivid double-page artwork is filled with action and energy. Colorfully clothed characters, vibrant backgrounds, and almost touchable textures make each page fresh and appealing. Filled with warm humor and taking a fresh approach, this title is the perfect antidote to ho-hum holiday books.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Spinelli depicts divergent and contrasting family lifestyles in this holiday dual scenario. Abigail Archer's family observes Thanksgiving with everything meticulously done, from a plump golden turkey and delectable homemade pie to an afternoon of organized recreation. Mrs. Archer is the complete host, dressed in organdy and pearls. Abigail's friend and droll narrator describes her own mom, dressed in jeans, serving burnt turkey, store-bought pie, and a quivering Jell-O mold before a chaotic afternoon of juvenile fun-loving horseplay and grown-up dozing. Andinolfi caricatures separate formal and informal ways of both families with alternating gouache and collage illustrations on craft paper and extends the satirical rhyming narration with balloon commentary. "Abigail Archer's father / serves white meat all around. / Everyone takes dainty bites, / and no one makes a sound. / My grandpa chews the gizzards. / My brother chomps the wings. / My sister slurps. My uncle burps. / And Aunt Clarissa sings." The jovial celebration of a national feast day highlights the common thread of loving kinship present in both households. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312375058
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 10/2/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 153,636
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 10.81 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Eileen Spinelli

Eileen Spinelli lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, author Jerry Spinelli. As a little girl, she knew it was autumn when the family piled into her dad’s old Chevy and drove off to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, for apples. Eileen Spinelli is the author of over thirty children’s books.

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