Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Memory Cupboard: A Thanksgiving Story

The Memory Cupboard: A Thanksgiving Story

Charlotte Herman
Illustrator:  Herman Stahl 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Albert Whitman, 2003   ISBN: 978-0807550557

Katie is so excited to be going to see her grandmother for the Thanksgiving holiday. She loves the traditional meal, seeing her uncle, aunt, great aunts and best of all her Grandma. The meal is surrounded by family rituals and stories that she loves to hear. Even the gravy boat has a story to tell. There is singing and Great-Aunt Laura leads the family in her favorite song.

Once the meal is over Katie wants to help clean up. She picks up the precious gravy boat to carry it into the kitchen and although she does her best to be careful with it, somehow it slips out of her hands and falls to the floor where it breaks. Katie is terribly upset until Grandma takes her upstairs and shows her what she calls her ""memory cupboard"". It is a special cupboard full of treasures. At first Katie doesn't understand why her grandmother values the things in the cupboard because everything in it is broken. But then Grandma starts to tell Katie the stories behind the broken treasures and Katie begins to understand.

In this simple yet very powerful story, the author shows us how special family is and how family gatherings can be a wonderful time for sharing stories and memories. We are also reminded that it is the people behind gifts and not so much the gifts themselves that make them special. The combination of this message and Herman Stahl warm illustrations makes this a charming and compelling picture book.