Thanksgiving sometimes is a challenge when planning story time for little ones. Either you find books on the imminent death of the turkey (who then, humorously, becomes the guest of honor), or newly illustrated versions of Over the River and Through the Woods. This sweetly done board books with lift-the-flaps is a nice addition to a Thanksgiving holiday collection. Told in the manner of The House that Jack Built, the rhyme and pictures follow the round-faced pilgrims from England to the New Land where they are befriended and educated by the natives, set about planting crops, and celebrate with a banquet to which they invite their new friends. The pilgrims are all rosy cheeked and blonde. The native people are rosy-cheeked and brown-skinned. The pictures are easily talked about as the flaps reveal enterprising Pilgrims companionably fishing with the Indians, spinning, planting, and eating. The Thanksgiving dinner shows both groups of people share a celebratory meal. In addition to the obvious lesson about the Pilgrims settlement of the Massachusetts colony, this book can be expanded to lessons on cooperation, sharing, and helping our neighbors. Kids will ask for repeat readings so that they can manipulate the pages. 2010, Simon and Schuster Children’s Division, Ages 1 to 4, $5.99. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross (Children’s Literature).
Why Did the Pilgrims Come to the New World?
Laura Hamilton Waxman
In the 1600s Puritans and Separatists broke with the Anglican Church and sought relief from persecution first in Holland and then in the New World. After a perilous voyage on the Mayflower, they arrived at what is now called Plymouth on Cape Cod. Before settling in they drew up and signed the Mayflower Compact on the ship. The signers were not a homogeneous group, nor were they all members of religious sects.. All agreed to stay, work together, and treat each other fairly. Many died that first winter. Samoset and Squanto, Native Americans who spoke English, helped them. The first harvest in 1621 led to a feast which became Thanksgiving. A question at the end of each chapter leads into the next chapter. Unusual words appear in boxes with a line leading to the margin where the word is defined. Sidebars pictured on notebook paper answer further questions with information such as “The word pilgrim refers to a person who travels to a sacred place for a religious purpose.” Colored photographs, maps, and reproductions of famous paintings enhance the text. This is one of the “Six Questions of American History” series. There is a timeline, source notes, bibliography, list for further reading and web sites, and an index. This interesting account for young people explains the various controversies surrounding the Mayflower voyage and explains how they were overcome. 2011, Lerner Publications Company/Lerner Publishing Group, Ages 12 to 18, $29.27. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman (Children’s Literature).
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