Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Books: Adaptions of Popular Poems, Songs, and Story Formats

Who knew there were so many types of Thanksgiving tales?  Today's post is on Thanksgiving holiday adaptions to popular poems, songs, or story formats. 

I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie (ages 2-8) by Alison Jackson
Using a Thanksgiving feast as inspiration, Alison Jackson rewrites I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.  An old lady shows up for Thanksgiving dinner, but before she even crosses the threshold she swallows a pie.  Then, she swallows some cider because the pie is dry.   The narrative continues in a cumulative manner with the phrase “perhaps she’ll die” at regular intervals.   It concludes with a “surprise” holiday ending.  Why I Chose It:  Young children love these types of humerous, cumulative tales.  I had a stack of books on a table in public.  A preschool child came over and chose this one.  Even after it was read to her, she kept looking at it.  She barely touched another book.  I think that speaks for itself! 

The Night Before Thanksgiving (ages 2-7) by Natasha Wing
This book also follows the format of "'Twas the Night before Christmas" poem. The children dream of drumsticks, help their parents with preparations, and anxiously await the arrival of their family for Thanksgiving day.  There is a joyful exuberance as the family visits and spends time together.  A mishap with a turkey is fortunately avoided.  The family gives thanks for their each other and their homes.  Finally, they enjoy a delicious feast.  Why I Chose It:  Like the original poem it is adapted from, The Night Before Thanksgiving is entertaining and pleasing to the ears.  The focus is on family, cooperation, and love. 

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims (ages 2-8) by B.G. Hennessy
Using the rhythm and model of the popular song by a similar name, children will share in the preparations and work in colonial America as the Pilgrims, Indians, and turkeys get ready for the feast.  Using vivid illustrations in autumnal colors, children are displayed cooking, farming, hunting, and gathering in preparation for the celebration.  The narrative cumulates with the two groups working, playing, and praying together.  Meanwhile, the turkeys are hiding… Why I Chose it:  The book is a fun variation on a children's song.  Since children are seen working, it is a good opportunity to talk about their important role in the community and to discuss how the roles of children have changed (Perhaps use a comparison chart to illustrate).  This retelling of the first Thanksgiving is accessible to younger children but will likely be enjoyed by older ones as well. 

This is the Turkey (ages 3-8) by Abby Levine
Using the popular This is the House that Jack Built format, a boy begins describing his Thanksgiving day by picking out a turkey.  The story continues describing the preparations with “the sister who kneads the bread/as Dad stirs the cranberries, ruby red.”  Eventually family members arrive “with salad greens” and “famous beans.”  Then, despite an unfortunate mishap with the turkey, everyone gives thanks, enjoys the food, and plays games.  The soft watercolor illustrations aptly convey the joys of the holiday are found in family, friends, food, and gratitude.  Why I Chose It:  I enjoyed the smooth, rhythmic language and rhyming couplets.  The tale exudes joy and gratitude. 

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving (ages  4-9) by Dav Pilkey
This wacky holiday parody of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is sure to be a winner with all ages. The story begins with a group of children taking a field trip to Farmer Mack Nugget’s turkey place where they enjoy playing with eight lively turkeys.  When the children find out that the farmer plans to kill them all for Thanksgiving dinner, they cleverly save the turkeys and modify their own holiday dinners.  The silly illustrations add to the humor and pleasure of this story.   Why I Chose It:  First, I love just about everything Dav Pilkey writes.  He is so entertaining and inventive.  Next, he does an imaginative job rewrite the famous and much beloved ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.   Finally, this adaption has wide-appeal. 

You Might Also Enjoy:
Over the River: A Turkey's Tale (age4-8) by Derek Anderson
The lyrics of the popular song "Over the River and Through the Woods" are illustrusted to "tell" an amusing story about turkeys. 

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