We may already be thinking about Christmas, but let's not skip over Thanksgiving. There's still time to get some great books for this very important holiday!
Mary's First Thanksgiving: An Inspirational Story of Gratefulness was written by Kathy-jo Wargin and illustrated by Robert Papp. The main character, Mary, is usually happy her family moved from Ireland to America, but as Thanksgiving draws near she can't think of anything to be thankful for. Her father finally has a job, but they still don't have much money or food. When she shares her frustration with her parents, they share the true story of Thanksgiving. But the story they tell goes beyond a happy feast between Pilgrims and Native Americans; it also includes the tradition of five kernels.
Mary's father explains "the starving time" that came after that great feast. They hadn't stored enough food for winter and soon they were hungry again. But God answered their prayers for rain and a year later, the colonists held their second Thanksgiving feast. At this celebration they placed five kernels of corn on their plates, then gave thanks for the blessings each represented: the beauty and bounty of autumn, their love for one another, their love for their families, their friendship with the Native Americans; and their freedom to worship God without fear.
After finishing the story, Mary and her parents share five things they are thankful for.
The illustrations are life-like and colorful, a perfect compliment to to the text.
What I Like: This is a new tradition to me, a part of the story I never knew. It encourages readers to be grateful even if they have very little -- a lesson we can all use. The illustrations are quite engaging.
What I Dislike: The book covers a lot, almost too much for the younger end of the target audience.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 4-8, though I would say 5-10.
Publisher Info: ZonderKidz, 2008; ISBN: 0310711797; Hardback; $16.99