Off to Plymouth Rock! was written by well-known children's author Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Gene Barretta. It tells, through rhyming verse, the story of the first Thanksgiving from the pilgrims' perspective. The book details a dangerous trip and finally arriving; building their dreams and struggling to survive the winter. Then the Native Americans offer their help.
Sees the Pilgrims suffering.
Shivering, praying, Still they're staying
Here at Plymouth Rock!
Watchful Squanto understands,
Shares the secrets of the lands.
Digging, hoeing, Corn is growing --
Here at Plymouth Rock!"
The story concludes in thanksgiving, prayer and sharing. Beautifully detailed illustrations fill the book. Some pages are a bit monochromatic, but overall the pages possess contrast and vivid colors.
As a bonus, this book includes a "Read-Along Activity CD." This features five tracks, each with the author reading the story in a slightly different way. It encourages interaction with children through clapping, singing and more.
What I Like: This is a highly educational book written at a child's understanding. The illustrations are great. The author does a wonderful job keeping tots' interest.
What I Dislike: While the story does mention praying and believing, it never references God. This is an American holiday without solid foundations in religion, but I still think it would have been nice to include a clearer idea of the One we are thanking. Also, the CD was not what I expected. It really is intended for formal education rather than sitting down with Mom in the living room.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: 4-8, according to the publisher, but toddlers may enjoy it as well.
Publisher Info: Tommy Nelson, 2006; ISBN: 1400308224; Boardbook; $9.99
Special Info: This book is also available in hardback with CD, a perfect format for school settings, either formal classrooms or at home. Buy it from Amazon for $11.04.