Tag Archive: Thanksgiving

Sharing the Bread by Pat Zietlow Miller

Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Released September 22, 2015.

Told in rhyme, this picture book is a celebration of a family preparing Thanksgiving dinner together. The nineteenth century American traditions echo our modern ones closely. Readers will see the turkey go into the wood-burning oven. Dough for the bread is kneaded and allowed to rise. There is cranberry sauce made on the stove and a pumpkin pie with hand-whipped topping. Mashed potatoes are added to the feast as well as a jug of cider. Soon everyone is gathered around the table and prayers are said together. It’s an American Thanksgiving done in true traditional style.

The rhyming stanzas evoke a feeling of a jaunty folksong as they tell the story of a family making their Thanksgiving dinner. The rhymes create a great rhythm to the book, that will have toes tapping if they are read with enough snap and vigor. The rhyme and rhythm combine to create a strong framework for the book, one where there is a building anticipation for the meal and for the family to all arrive. There are extended family present, including adult siblings, aunt, uncle and grandparents. Throughout, there is lots of work to be done but it is all done in good cheer and everyone lends a hand.

McElmurry’s illustrations have a folkart quality to them that works well. Done in paint, the illustrations are simple and warm, inviting you back in time to share a meal that is familiar to everyone. There are lots of period details in the images such as water pumps, dried herbs in bunches on the wall, a wash tub, and large cast iron pots and pans.

Warm and flavored with tradition and love, this book is as gratifying as a fresh loaf of bread. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Schwartz & Wade and Edelweiss.

bear says thanks

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

The Bear series by Karma Wilson continues to impress with its latest entry.  There are only a few children’s picture book series that have maintained the quality of both writing and illustration as this series has.  In this latest tale, Bear has an idea to create a big feast and invite his friends over to share.  The only problem is that Bear has nothing in his cupboard at all.  Mouse shows up with a pie to share, and Bear says “Thanks!”  Bear continues to fret that he has nothing to share when Hare pops by with a batch of muffins to share.  Badger then arrives with fish, Gopher and Mole bring warm honey nuts, and Owl, Raven and Wren have herbs for tea and pears to munch.  But with no food to offer at all, what in the world can Bear give his friends?

I’ve always enjoyed the rhythm of this series and the repetition that makes them ideal to read aloud to toddlers.  There is also a wonderful friendly warmth to the books, captured both by the colors of the illustrations and the story itself.  That same warmth is here, friends offering food and sharing time with one another with no expectations.  Chapman’s illustrations stay true to the series, offering pictures large enough to share with a group.

While this book is perfect for Thanksgiving story times, I’d also use it throughout the year when talking about sharing.  This is a bear’s den that any of us would love to crawl into and spend some time in no matter what time of year it is.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Margaret K. McElderry Books.


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