Thanksgiving Day Thanks

Overview

Thanksgiving is almost here, and Sam's class is excited for their Thanksgiving feast! Mary Ann is going to dress up like Squanto, and Winston's building a Popsicle-stick Mayflower.

Everyone already knows the one special thing they are thankful for—everyone but Sam, that is.

When something goes wrong with Sam's surprise project, will the class be able to save it? Will Sam discover what he's thankful for?

Laura ...

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Overview

Thanksgiving is almost here, and Sam's class is excited for their Thanksgiving feast! Mary Ann is going to dress up like Squanto, and Winston's building a Popsicle-stick Mayflower.

Everyone already knows the one special thing they are thankful for—everyone but Sam, that is.

When something goes wrong with Sam's surprise project, will the class be able to save it? Will Sam discover what he's thankful for?

Laura Malone Elliott and Lynn Munsinger have created a charming story about the traditions that make Thanksgiving special. Full of creativity, humor, and heart, Thanksgiving Day Thanks celebrates friendship, family, and the many other blessings in our lives for which we give thanks.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
Sam the bear, previously seen in A String of Hearts (2010), struggles to figure out what “one special thing” he’s thankful for as his classroom gears up for a Thanksgiving celebration. Sam’s classmates are grateful for football, shopping, and marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, and as Sam considers his answer, Elliott incorporates an array of holiday activities into the story that will be a boon for teachers and families alike: creating placemats from wax paper and autumn leaves, donating to food drives, and making bead necklaces to represent wampum, among others. Munsinger is, as usual, attentive to the emotions of her anthropomorphic animal cast, and at Sam’s lowest (when his parade-ready balloons nearly fly away), a classmate’s quick thinking—and good aim—help save the day. While Sam’s eventual realization of what he’s thankful for (his family) won’t surprise anyone, Elliott does a commendable job of including a great deal of information about Thanksgiving history into the story and in endnotes, including a bit of Wampanoag vocabulary and some guesses as to the menu of that first 1621 feast. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
ALA Booklist
“Bolstered by warm watercolor cartoon illustrations, this book is a perfect delivery system for a wealth of knowledge about Thanksgiving, with the story suggesting that family and friends are the main things to be thankful for.”
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Sam's class is a beehive of activity as all his classmates think of things they are grateful for as Thanksgiving draws near. Only Sam seems to be at a loss for that one special thing. While classmates make special placemats, replicas of the Mayflower, wampum headbands, and organize a pumpkin pie contest and a food drive, Sam sits on the sidelines thinking and as he does he remembers what he likes most about Thanksgiving Day...the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. On the day of the feast Sam is ready to reveal his surprise of balloon figures when a sudden gust of wind threatens to derail his project. Quick thinking by his friend Mary Ann saves the day and proves to Sam that thing he is most thankful for is family and friends. This sweet addition to the holiday collection will receive a hearty welcome by teachers from preschool to 2nd grade. It is chock full of ideas for classroom activities and projects as well as additional information about Pilgrims and the Native Americans and Thanksgiving traditions. The story has simplicity, humor, and genuine warmth and sensitive Sam is simply loveable. Munsinger's signature watercolor cartoons add a layer of charm to the festivities. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Bright, cheery, and expressive illustrations perfectly complement this sweet story about Sam's holiday dilemma. The bear cub's class is getting ready for Thanksgiving by making projects and sharing what they are most thankful for. Poor Sam can't think of what to do for his project or what makes him feel grateful. After much thinking, he attempts to re-create the Thanksgiving Day Parade, but a strong wind ruins his project. Luckily his friend Mary Ann, a resourceful squirrel, uses her arrow-shooting skills to rescue one balloon and save the day. This prompts Sam to finally realize what he is thankful for: time spent with his family and wonderful friends. This book will foster discussion about family traditions and gratitude. The author's note is an age-appropriate summary of the first Thanksgiving; it's followed by a page of interesting facts related to the holiday and its inception.—Jasmine L. Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh, PA
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
Sam has trouble thinking of what he is most grateful for when his class celebrates Thanksgiving, and Elliott has trouble sustaining the focus on group relationships begun with Sam's first outing (A String of Hearts, 2010). Sam's classmates have no difficulty giving thanks for football, sweet potatoes and shopping. Led by Mrs. Wright, the class discusses the first Thanksgiving (Native Americans taught Pilgrims to plant and hunt; Pilgrims celebrated their friendship and the harvest with a feast). Then the students brainstorm ways to celebrate—costumes, food, crafts and a yarn turkey whose feathers are made up of the students' thanks—but that only increases Sam's anxiety. He does manage to think of something for the day of the feast, but will the wind steal it? Mary Ann's bow-and-arrow practice pays off, rescuing at least part of Sam's surprise, and Sam now knows just what to write on not one, but two feathers. It's just too bad more of the book doesn't focus on the close relationships among the students. One page of backmatter tells more about the relationship between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, while another provides some facts about the modern-day Thanksgiving celebration. Munsinger's sweet, enthusiastic and diverse anthropomorphized animal cast is quite busy with individual projects, which all turn out, rather unrealistically, spectacularly. With its wide variety of activities and crafts, this is sure to spark some classroom celebration ideas, though it otherwise doesn't stand out from other holiday titles. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060002367
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 215,387
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Malone Elliott is the author of the award-winning Hunter's Best Friend at School, Hunter's Big Sister, Hunter & Stripe and the Soccer Showdown, and the first story about Sam and Mary Ann, A String of Hearts, also illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. As L. M. Elliott, she has written books for older readers, including the highly praised Under a War-Torn Sky; its sequel, A Troubled Peace; Flying South; Annie, Between the States; and Give Me Liberty. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children.

Lynn Munsinger has illustrated many favorite books for children, including The Teeny Tiny Ghost and Whooo's Haunting the Teeny Tiny Ghost? by Kay Winters. She divides her time between Vermont and Massachusetts.

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