cover image Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving

Eric Metaxas. Thomas Nelson Publishers, $9.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8499-5864-9

This paper-over-board picture book biography approaches the holiday from an evangelical point of view. Beginning with Squanto's kidnapping, at age 12, by the Spanish from his Patuxet village in 1608, Metaxas (The Birthday ABC) follows him to M laga, Spain. His friends are sold into slavery, ""but God had another plan for Squanto."" Monks purchase Squanto and teach him their beliefs, then entrust him to a kind man in London until he can find passage back to America. Finally, in 1618, he arrives home, only to find his village wiped out by disease. The discovery tests Squanto's faith but does not destroy it (""As he pondered the great sorrow in his heart, he talked to God""). When Squanto comes to the aid of starving English newcomers, Governor Bradford predicts the hero's role: ""Perhaps God has sent you to be our Joseph."" In the end, Bradford and Squanto both give thanks to God for using Squanto in ""such a way that would bless the whole world for centuries to come."" Of all the offerings this season, this account comes closest to describing the holiday's religious roots and historical beginnings, even though many may argue with the book's politics and/or theology. Stirnweis's portraits tend to be stiff and inconsistent, but his realistic renderings of M laga and London architecture are atmospheric. The culminating illustration portrays Squanto in a pose like Christ on the Mount. Ages 5-10. (Aug.)