Thanksgiving Day Thanks

Laura Malone Elliott, illus. by Lynn Munsinger. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-000236-7
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.)
Reviewed on: 09/09/2013
Release date: 08/01/2013
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