Thanksgiving at the Tappletons'

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons'

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by Eileen Spinelli, Maryann Cocca-Leffler

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Thanksgiving is always a special day at the Tappletons'. Mrs. Tappleton gets up early to prepare the turkey. Mr. Tappleton buys the pies at the bakery. Kenny makes the salad, and Jenny mashes the potatoes. Then all the relatives arrive for Thanksgiving dinner.

This year nothing seems to go right. First the turkey slides down the icy hill into the pond.


Thanksgiving is always a special day at the Tappletons'. Mrs. Tappleton gets up early to prepare the turkey. Mr. Tappleton buys the pies at the bakery. Kenny makes the salad, and Jenny mashes the potatoes. Then all the relatives arrive for Thanksgiving dinner.

This year nothing seems to go right. First the turkey slides down the icy hill into the pond. Then the bakery sells out of pies. It looks as if it's going to be a pretty bleak holiday... until Grandmother saves the day.

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons' has been completely re-illustrated in full color by Maryann Cocca-Leffler. Her bright and bouncy paintings make this favorite Thanksgiving tale more hilarious than ever.

Author Biography: Eileen Spinelli, the author of many other books for children, lives in Phoenixville, PA.

Maryann Cocca-Leffler, who has illustrated many picture books, lives in Saugus, MA.

Editorial Reviews

Wolves get a bad rap. Their reputation for mayhem will dissolve, though, when readers celebrate Thanksgiving with the Tapletons, the nicest family of wolves you'll ever encounter. In this delightful story, Mrs. Tapleton makes the turkey; Mr. Tapleton buys the pies; Kenny tosses the salad; and Jenny mashes the potatoes. A quirky, homey feast.
Publishers Weekly
First published in 1982, Thanksgiving at the Tappletons' by Eileen Spinelli is being reissued with new art by Megan Lloyd. The illustrations present an all-animal cast (who bear a slight resemblance to Ashley Wolff's furry critters), with the Tappleton clan starring as wolves determined to make the most of it when their roast turkey goes missing. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
With joyous enthusiasm the Tappletons begin their preparations for their Thanksgiving feast. Alas, the big uncooked turkey slides away and into a pond when Mrs. Tappleton reaches for the milkman's eggnog. Unaware of this disaster, Mr. Tappleton leaves to pick up the pies. He waits in a nearby coffee shop for the line to go down at the bakery. When it does, the pies are gone. In the meantime, Kenny cannot complete his task of preparing the salad because he took the vegetables to school to feed the rabbits. Jenny gets so engrossed in a telephone chat that she lets the mashed potatoes fly all over the room. When Uncle Fritz and the grandparents arrive, everyone sits down to the dining room table. They gradually discover that there is no Thanksgiving dinner-no turkey, no fixings, nothing. Unabashed, Grandmother offers the before meal prayer, giving thanks for the family and their togetherness. Then everyone pitches in to fix a meal with what's on hand. They feast on liverwurst cheese sandwiches, pickles, and applesauce. Lively illustrations feature a family of wolves with wonderfully human characteristics. A good story to share with children when discussing the true meaning of Thanksgiving. 2003, HarperCollins, Ages 5 to 9.
— Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-This charming title, originally published in 1982 (HarperCollins), has been newly illustrated with vibrant, humorous artwork, with wolves instead of people as characters. The trouble begins when the turkey slips from Mrs. Tappleton's grasp and slides out the door, across the lawn, and into the frozen pond. Nonstop hilarity continues and more challenges develop with the pies, mashed potatoes, and even the salad. This family races through the day, experiencing one calamitous food catastrophe after another. However, the guests realize that Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate one another, not the traditional feast. This never-a-dull-moment look at Thanksgiving is a feast for the eyes; the slapstick events that develop are what help to strengthen the family ties. A comical, quirky view of tradition and togetherness, this title will be a surefire hit with the storytime crowd.-Andrea Tarr, Corona Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Ilene Cooper
Thanksgiving doesn't turn out quite the way the Tappletons intend. Mother gets up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven, but thanks to the milkman, the bird slips out of her hands, down the icy sidewalk, and into a pond. Father gets to the bakery too late to get any pies. Brother Kenny has inadvertently fed the salad to his rabbits, and sister Jenny makes a blender mess out of the potatoes. No one, however, confesses, so it's not until the hungry relatives show up that the truth must be faced--no dinner. Not surprisingly, the moral of all this is that the important thing is being together, but before she gets to that tried-and-true adage, Spinelli has a lot of fun along the way. The bird slithers in the snow, mashed potatoes decorate the walls, and Grandpa keeps insisting he's as hungry as an elephant, even while his prospects for food grow dimmer. The text, originally published in 1982 by Addison-Wesley, has been completely reillustrated, and the art captures the slapstick fun.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Newly illustrated ed
Product dimensions:
6.11(w) x 11.11(h) x 1.11(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Eileen Spinelli is the author of many picture books and poetry collections, including A Big Boy Now, Hug a Bug, and the bestselling When Mama Comes Home Tonight, among others. When she writes a story, she has an instant audience: her twenty-five grandchildren and husband, Jerry (also a writer). Aside from story making, Eileen teaches creative writing and poetry. The Spinellis live in Media, Pennsylvania.

Maryann Cocca-Leffler is thrilled that the Tappletons are back! She illustrated the very first version of Thanksgiving at the Tappletons' in 1982 as a new illustrator fresh out of art school, and then reillustrated it in 1992. Since then, Maryann has written and illustrated over fifty children's books, including Rain Brings Frogs, A Vacation for Pooch, and Janine. Maryann lives and works in New Hampshire.

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3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
PrimaryTeacher More than 1 year ago
The original edition had great illustrations of a human family celebrating Thanksgiving. I met Eileen Spinelli in elementary school and she signed a copy for me. I've read it every Thanksgiving since then....about 25 years. Now that I'm a teacher, I also read it to my class. It's a great way to teach realistic fiction to them, in a holiday book. The new illustrations are awful. Wolves? really? Hunt down an original edition instead, you'll be happy you did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago