Thursday, November 19, 2009
Thanksgiving at the Tappletons' - A Storybook Review
I love reading book reviews from real people who truly love a book. While magazines give a general idea of a book, I think when a book is truly something a family enjoys the review is so much better. Recently I read the kids a book called Thanksgiving at the Tappletons'
by Eileen Spinelli. I think it's a great story about the true meaning of Thanksgiving that both engages and delights preschoolers. Avlyn laughed at the pictures and really enjoyed the story.
Now I have read some fun stories that try to convey the meaning of Thanksgiving using cute characters like mice and bears, but this story uses a family that seems more real than some of the Thanksgiving stories we've read.
The Tappletons' Thanksgiving starts off all wrong when the milkman causes mom to drop the turkey, and it slides on the icy steps, down the yard, and into a lake. Then when dad's impatience causes him to miss out on the bakery's Thanksgiving pies, the reader knows dessert will be a disaster. But dad tries to trick mom by bringing home empty pie boxes and, *gasp*, lying to mom that the baker is known for her light pies. When brother fails to mention that he fed all the salad fixings to the bunnies in his classroom, and sister's penchant for gabbing on the phone while the potatoes are mashing in the blender, (yes, the blender) all the trimmings for the turkey are ruined.
But with everyone trying to hide their Thanksgiving goofs, no one realizes there isn't any traditional food ready for the arriving relatives. It's not until everyone sits down to eat and Grandma wants to say the prayer that they realize there's no food. That's when Grandma reminds them that Thanksgiving isn't about turkey and trimmings, but about being with people you love. Even without a table full of food, Grandma still says a wonderful prayer of Thanksgiving. It's after the prayer when mom remembers that she has a fridge full of liverwurst....
What did we like about this book? We liked that the family made a bunch of mistakes they tried to cover up. Who hasn't made mistakes on Thanksgiving, whether it's serving a raw turkey or forgetting to bake the pies, and not wanted to cover it up somehow. We liked that the family worked together to get Thanksgiving ready, even if they did manage to collectively ruin dinner. And the kids loved the illustration of the turkey sliding across the yard and landing, "Plop!" in the lake.
We used this book to open up some preschool-aged talk about Thanksgiving. We also touched a little on what would have been different had the family been honest and told the other people what happened. But most of all we just enjoyed the fun story abou the blunder-filled Thanksgiving that still ended up wonderful.
If you can't find this at your local library, Amazon has a few used copies for cheap. But it does seem to be currently out of print for new editions. The link above will take you to Amazon if you want a used copy. Happy Homeschooling!