Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841

A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841

Barbara Greenwood
Illustrator:  Heather Collins 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Kids Can Press, 1999   ISBN: 978-1550745740

Sarah and her family are one day away from their Thanksgiving celebration and there is still much work to do. Sarah’s grandmother is unwell and Sarah wants to make this is a very special Thanksgiving for her by getting her a special treat; Sarah is determined to get her grandmother cranberries so that they can have cranberry sauce for their Thanksgiving feast. The problem is that cranberries grow in the bog and Sarah is not supposed to go near the dangerous area. Only when it is too late does she wish she had paid attention to her father’s warnings.

Sarah’s brother Willy also wants to bring home something special for the feast. He is sure that he will be able to find some nuts for the turkey dressing but he knows that he must be careful not to get lost in the woods for people have been known to get, and stay, lost for a very long time if they are not careful. Then Willy sees a squirrel carrying some nuts and he sets off in pursuit, forgetting the need for caution. Will Willy be able to find his way home?

Interspersed with the story of the Robertson family Thanksgiving preparations and celebration, the reader will find activities and craft projects, and interesting sections about the history of harvest and thanksgiving celebrations in the New and Old Worlds. Both kinds of celebrations were common way back in human history and it interesting to learn about old traditions and superstitions which still find their way into our lives today. The author seamlessly weaves together the stories, the craft projects, and the histories to make this a fascinating book.