Each letter in this informative book about the historical roots of Thanksgiving is hand-drawn with a large, bold calligraphic style—the illustrations are "wrapped" around, over and through the giant-sized letters and the backgrounds are smallish wallpaperlike images representative of the text for the particular letter being discussed. The colorful illustrations have a slightly fuzzy quality that makes them look old- fashioned and suit the text perfectly. K is for king—King James I of England is shown in regal splendor and his stand that everyone must attend his church or be persecuted for failing to obey him (the king was head of the church), makes it clear that the people left England for religious reasons. Other historical aspects of the feast- filled holiday are included with such facts as: L is for Lincoln who proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 ("...became president many years after the colonists landed in America"). N is for November, the month that Thanksgiving is celebrated and also the month that the Mayflower landed in 1620. It would have been helpful for the map showing the spot the ship reached was not just a depiction of the coastline of Massachusetts with Plymouth marked with an X ; a small detail, but I do think that readers need the perspective of the entire continent to gauge where the X is in relationship to where they live. On the P page we do see the Pilgrims' ("... travels for religious reasons") route on a map showing North America as well as Europe and Africa for perspective. " ... In time, all early Plymouth colonists became known as Pilgrims." Bringing the focus to current day is the Gpage. G is for the games probably played during the harvest festival—"Today, football games are an American Thanksgiving tradition" (in many households!). The introductory historical note and the addition of phonetic pronunciations for the Indian names help to make this a worthwhile addition to the body of Thanksgiving literature.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Beginning with a concise summary of the 1621 Massachusetts harvest festival with English colonists and Native Americans and the larger celebration that followed two years later, this picture book presents an alphabet of words inspired by events, people, and places related to the holiday. From the obvious (P is for Pilgrim) to the more difficult (W is for Wampanoag), the few sentences on each page define the term and its relationship to Thanksgiving as it was celebrated historically and in the present. Icons for each letter reduced to a wallpaper effect fill in behind larger painted illustrations, topped with oversized black, capital letters in script. The alphabetic format informs with unusual words and names (S is for Samoset and Squanto), creating a useful teaching tool all the way to "Z is for zea" (a family of tall grass that makes large ears of corn).-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
America, games, harvest, feast, king of England, Indians, Lincoln, orange pumpkins, Pilgrims, November-all are among the eclectic choices for this ho-hum alphabetical look at the Thanksgiving Day of the past. The information is not new, but since the focus is on the past with nothing of the modern celebration, the early primary child will find little here that will bridge the gap to their own experience. The choice of organization means the text is composed of random snippets, with little transition or connection to the next item, except for the arbitrary connection to the letter of the alphabet. The information given is too much for an alphabet book, yet too little for research. While the illustrations are lovely, they are not enough to raise this title above the marginal purchase. (Picture book. 4-8)