Very First Thanksgiving Day

( 3 )


This is the food, gathered and blessed,
the corn and sweet berries, and wild turkey dressed,
shared on the very first Thanksgiving Day.

Join author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrator Susan Gaber on a journey back to the very first Thanksgiving Day, when two societies came together to feast and honor the ...

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This is the food, gathered and blessed,
the corn and sweet berries, and wild turkey dressed,
shared on the very first Thanksgiving Day.

Join author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrator Susan Gaber on a journey back to the very first Thanksgiving Day, when two societies came together to feast and honor the earth's bounty in peace.

Rhyming verses trace the events leading up to the first Thanksgiving Day.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Susan Gaber's bright, vividly rendered acrylic paintings highlight this rhyming story about the very first Thanksgiving feast. Good spirits and all the trimmings.
From the Publisher
"Definite kid appeal."
— Horn Book

"Breathtaking paintings."
Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
The team behind The Stable Where Jesus Was Born reprises a "House That Jack Built" format: "These are the Pilgrims who farmed the new land,/ who steadfastly labored and toiled by hand,/ and learned from the Indians, skillful and strong." While this construct necessitates somewhat simplistic characterizations, Greene succinctly describes the first feast and traces the Pilgrims' roots back to England. Gaber contributes breathtaking paintings, particularly noteworthy for their distinctive autumnal lighting and robust, Brueghelesque palette. Her illustration of the Mayflower, seen as a tiny ship against a vast sea nearly indistinguishable from the sky, alone testifies to the Pilgrims' courageous journey. Ages 3-6. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-This rhyming ramble in a "This Is the House That Jack Built" style mentions Thanksgiving at the beginning and the end as a tidy place to tuck in helpful Indians, Pilgrim houses, the harbor, the Mayflower, the ocean, the land the Pilgrims came from (no name mentioned), and the "big rock" on the shore where they landed. Pleasing acrylic paintings lift the pedestrian text from adequate to engaging. With six "this" and three "these" totally dependent on the pictures, it is fortunate that the selective realism of Gaber's acrylic paintings is up to the task. In addition, effective use is made of the double-page, full-page, and spot formats. Author and illustrator notes explain the choice of Indian in the text and elaborate on the first celebration of this holiday. (Though the author states that it "lasted three days" in her notes, it is only the "very first" day that she addresses.) While lacking the depth and detail of other picture books on the topic, this title is clearly intended for the very young.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Not really a cumulative verse and not quite a circular tale the rhythm of this story brings to mind "This is the House that Jack Built." Greene and Graber collaborated earlier on The Stable Where Jesus Was Born (not reviewed), which had a similar lyrical pattern. Greene tells her tale from the very first Thanksgiving Day, through the interaction with the Indians, the settling of the village, and to the Mayflower, and across the ocean and back again to that first gathering. Though the author cites specific resources, the illustrator does not; she does, however, speak of the interesting things that she learned while researching the pictures. Authenticity concerns will cause readers to question whether nine Pilgrims (dressed in spotless clothing, white aprons, collars, and such) would have gathered around a squatting "Indian" as he planted three fish around a hill of corn. And while it is picturesque to have a young girl hand him the kernel of corn, would she have done so while holding a doll? Although well executed and in a colorful palette, these illustrations seem to miss their mark. No contemporary historic records to a rock in the harbor have been found, so one must also wonder if a verse that refers twice to the harbor being marked by a huge stone doesn't perpetuate a romantic interpretation of this event in other ways as well. There are plenty of offerings that perpetuate the myth of this day; libraries don't need another. (Poetry. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416919162
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/26/2006
  • Edition description: Repackage
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 182,184
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Lexile: AD1230L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Rhonda Gowler Greene is a former schoolteacher and a full-time writer. She is the author of The Stable Where Jesus Was Born, Barnyard Song, and Eek! Creak! Snicker, Sneak. She celebrates Thanksgiving with her family West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Susan Gaber has illustrated a number of picture books, including When Winter Comes, The Stable Where Jesus Was Born, and The Very First Thanksgiving Day. She lives with her family in Huntington, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 9, 2012

    This book offers a lovely introduction to the Thanksgiving holid

    This book offers a lovely introduction to the Thanksgiving holiday that even the youngest viewers can grasp. Gaber's rich paintings convey a surprising amount of emotion . Although simplistic, the scope of the holiday is captured in just a few pages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    To be Read Every Thanksgiving

    I will read this to my grandchildren every Thanksgiving so they don't forget why we are celebrating. Exceptional illustrations.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent book to teach about the First Thanksgiving

    I used this book in a special education classroom for a lesson on story elements and the students did Phenomenal! I was thrilled at how engaged they were in the story read aloud and how they were able to recall all the story elements. This is an excellent book to use when discussing Thanksgiving. The illustrations are excellent and engaging as well.

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