Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Reading

Today's Theme: Holidays! Especially Thanksgiving.
Next week we gather together to share food and stories. If you're looking for some good tales, try these... I headed down to the local library for a couple old favorites. Nothing better than reading a story (or listening to one) while waiting for pie.

The Legend of the Cranberry: A Paleo-Indian Tale
by Ellin Greene

This is a retelling of a Delaware Indian legend in which the Great Spirit created Mastadon-like “Yah-qua-whee” to be the People’s helpers and friends.  “For many years they carried the people’s belongings on their long journey to the sea, helped them to clear the forests, provided meat to eat, hides for clothing, and bones for tent frames, beads and musical instruments.”

But when they come to the place where the land ends and the sea begins, the Yah-qua-whee go on a rampage, trampling and destroying everything. The People, the smaller animals and the Great Spirit join together to fight the huge giants. There is a huge battle and the ground is churned up into a muddy bog with much blood spilled.  In the spring, the bogs where the mastodons were buried bloomed pink with blossoms that ripened into bitter-tasting blood red berries. The people discovered that the berries could be crushed and mixed with dried meat and fat to make pemmican. Poultices from the berries helped heal wounds, and the juice of the berries made a rich dye for clothing. Thousands of years later, descendants of those People offered berries to hungry Pilgrims.

If you are looking for a different sort of holiday book, check out An Outlaw Thanksgiving by Emily McCully.  It's based on a true incident in the 1890's Wild West, when Butch Cassidy and his gang threw a Thanksgiving banquet for the ranching community that was their favorite "hideout". McCully imagines this feast through the eyes of a young girl traveling from New York state to California. A blizzard stops the train and Clara ends up sharing dinner with Butch and the gang. Puts a different twist on the whole idea of cooking up a turkey and "inviting the gang over".

Activities ~ Make some Cranberry Ink! When soldiers in the Civil War ran out of ink to send home letters to their loved ones, they smooshed up some berries and used the juice as ink. You can use cranberries - the recipe's over at Archimedes Notebook.

Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copies obtained from a library.


  1. You can find short reviews of seasonal and holiday books over at my library's blog

  2. Thanks for digging up some non-traditional Thanksgiving books to enjoy over the holidays!

  3. I'm familiar with the Outlaw Thanksgiving. It's a favorite at our school library. Even when it's not Thanksgiving! But the Cranberry book is a new one to me. Sounds really cool. I'll be checking it out. Thanks!

  4. These both sound amazing. I am thankful for so many books to choose from and for a great kidlit community to share them with. ('Can't wait to try the cranberry ink!!!)

  5. Sue, you shared two very unique books. I enjoyed them both. Both put a different spin on history. Great choices.

  6. LOVE these non-traditonal thanksgiving stories!

  7. Great choices for Thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing.

  8. The covers alone look terrific!