Two classics get fresh treatments this fall. The Peterkins' Thanksgiving adapted by Elizabeth Spurr from The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia P. Hale (1880), illus. by Wendy Anderson Halperin, features the delightfully oddball family's predicament when their feast gets stuck in the dumbwaiter. Halperin nicely balances familial affection with humor. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
This is adaptation of an episode from The Peterkin Papers originally published in the 1800s.The charming Peterkin family is as silly and literal as the Stupids and Amelia Bedelia combined. Set in "the olden days," the lovely, detailed pictures are just soft enough to maintain their charm but convey enough of the story line to help expand the text. The Peterkins are a wonderfully complex family who happened to have forgotten to name their last three children and so refer to them as "the Little Boys." This episode hinges on the fact that the weights in the dumbwaiter have become tangled and Thanksgiving dinner is "trapped" between floors. This presents yet another obstacle for the ever-clever Peterkins' brains to overcome or be overcome by. Last year they cut a hole in the ceiling to alleviate the too tall Christmas tree problem and now are considering removing the walls to have access to their dinner. The story is broken up by excerpts from letters written by the daughter, Elizabeth Eliza, to a "lady from Philadelphia" who seems to have missed all of the excitement and concern over the Thanksgiving Feast. In the end, the local carpenter saves the day by getting the dumbwaiter to work and dinner is served: "the trouble was the weight, said the carpenter. I should say so . . . I've never waited so long for any meal. said Mrs. Peterkin." I could not help thinking how many modern authors have been influenced by this silly, endearing family and the stories of their adventures. Because the story line is fairly long it is a good thing that the illustrations are completely captivating. Share this one with the more discerning listeners who will appreciate the antics of this intellectuallychallenged (but loving) family. 2005, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, Ages 5 up.
Gr 2-4-Spurr and Halperin team up again to present this companion to The Peterkins' Christmas (S & S, 2004), both adapted from Lucretia Hale's 19th-century classic, The Peterkin Papers. Here, the silly characters almost miss their Thanksgiving feast. Dressed in their Sunday best, they sit down at the table-upstairs of course-and Mrs. Peterkin rings her china bell, signaling Amanda the cook to send dinner up. Sadly, "the meal was substantially delayed, due to an odd circumstance." The food, it seems, is stuck in the dumbwaiter. Agamemnon, who is "relied upon for answers" because he "had been to college," has a solution. The family must eat downstairs-in the kitchen. Happily, they're not too proud to do so, but, unfortunately, the dumbwaiter still won't budge. After some amusing discussion, they decide they must call a carpenter but, of course, he can't come until later because he is at his relatives' house. All's well in the end, however, and this odd family does get to enjoy a satisfying Thanksgiving repast. This is a fine, entertaining tale, framed with phrases from correspondence written to their friend, the "Dear Lady from Philadelphia." The lighthearted watercolor illustrations have a Victorian flavor that fits nicely with the period-piece mood of the book. Gently amusing, this is a pleasing addition to any holiday collection.-Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In the late-19th century, Lucretia Hale's hilarious Peterkin Papers followed the misadventures of a family who were the ancestors of The Stupids and Amelia Bedelia. Spurr and Halperin have already adapted The Peterkins' Christmas (2004)-their light touch and whimsical illustrations are just what are needed to bring this holiday into the realm of the silly. Thanksgiving dinner gets stuck in the dumbwaiter; Amanda the cook can move it neither up nor down. The family (parents, Agamemnon, Solomon John, Elizabeth Eliza and the three Little Boys) troops down to the kitchen, but that doesn't help. Pickaxes are mentioned. So is tea, but no one wants to spoil their appetites. Finally, the carpenter comes, after his own dinner, and rearranges the weight, which is just what is needed. The hapless Peterkins will have children screaming with laughter-and telling them what to do-while they absorb a certain amount of information about how dumbwaiters work and what it is like to have the kitchen downstairs and dinner served to you. The Lady from Philadelphia, who usually unties the Peterkins' Gordian knots, is offstage here, the recipient of Elizabeth Eliza's missives. (Picture book. 6-9)