Susan Gaber's bright, vividly rendered acrylic paintings highlight this rhyming story about the very first Thanksgiving feast. Good spirits and all the trimmings.
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.
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.
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)